Quayside conversations

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Senior Marine Scotland officials are to undertake a tour of Scotland’s fishing ports for a series of quayside conversations.

The officials will meet with fishermen and others involved in the seafood industry to hear first hand about their concerns.

The Peterhead talks will take place on November 16, with Fraserburgh on the 23rd. With the Scottish fishing industry facing many challenges – including pressure from EU policies, increasing costs and technology changes – the ‘quayside conversations’ events will facilitate a frank exchange of views and help shape government policy.

A total of 17 engagements are planned between October 2012 and April 2013, starting with Eyemouth on October 25.

Some of these meetings will be led by Fisheries Secretary Richard Lochhead, who commented: “When I regularly travel around Scotland I often meet with active fishermen, who are usually very forthright in putting forward their views. And feedback from those who are regularly out at sea, facing the myriad of challenges presented by modern fishing, is always welcome.

“Uncertainties and frustrations over EU fisheries policy and financial pressures in a testing economic climate – these are just some of the challenges the Scottish fishing industry faces. I’m sure there are many more issues, some local and some national, that will be picked up through the quayside conversations.

“I look forward to taking part in some of the meetings, while my officials will feed back the views that fishermen from all corners of the country raise. I can assure the industry that I will listen to these concerns and carefully consider where the Scottish Government can offer help and support.”

Mike Palmer, Marine Scotland Head of Sea Fisheries, said: “The quayside conversations will enable us as Marine Scotland officials to increase our engagement with fishermen and hear their views first hand.

“It will also give us an opportunity to explain policies and hopefully alleviate some concerns. I am very aware that the policies we develop can have a serious impact on the livelihoods of skippers and I am determined we get these decisions right.”