In brief for 13 October 2010

Shark fin

SCOTTISH fisheries secretary Richard Lochhead is urging Scottish MEPs to sign up to a written declaration in the European Parliament to remove the current loopholes that allow unscrupulous fishermen to remove fins from vulnerable species like sharks.

Mr Lochhead has already removed the special fishing permits from all Scottish vessls so they can not carry out the practice, but is unable to prevent boats from other states undertaking shark finning in Scottish waters.


Now a campaign is underway to have the European Parliament amend the legislation and stop all European vessels from removing shark fins when at sea. Mr Lochhead has written to all Scottish MEPs asking them to support the amendment.


Cultural conference

HIGHLANDS and Islands Enterprise and Creative Scotland  have teamed up to launch the programme for “a major cultural conference” which they hope will attract a worldwide audience to the north of Scotland.


‘Old Maps and New: Where Culture and Social Enterprise Meet’ takes place in Inverness next month and will look at the social and economic impact of the arts as we move into challenging times for public funding.

Shetland Arts will participate in the event which will be webcast live across the world, with the opportunity to contribute and comment remotely.

The full programme can be downloaded at http://www.hi-arts.co.uk/HI-Arts%20Services/Conference-2010.htm


Repro sponsors

LERWICK’S efforts to sponsor next year’s visit from the Tall Ships Race has found another sponsor in reprographics firm Solution X, who have signed a cash sponsorship deal with the organisers.


Solution X director Mark Lynam said it would be “a fantastic event” and tall Ships project manager Fiona Dally said it was good to have the company on board.

Information about sponsorship opportunities is available at www.tallshipsracelerwick.com.


Red tape review

NORTHERN isles MP Alistair Carmichael is encouraging island businesses and voluntary groups to tell the coalition government how to cut red tape.

Mr Carmichael said he was responding to a call from business minister Mark Prisk for small businesses and other groups to provide details of bureaucracy that they feel causes them an unnecessary burden.
The MP said: “Starting and running a small business or voluntary organisation is challenging enough without government making life more difficult through unnecessary bureaucracy.
“The coalition has made a commitment to cut red tape and make it easier for people to establish new businesses, voluntary groups or charities. I would encourage anyone who has been frustrated by excessive bureaucracy in the past to consider making a submission to this review.”

Submissions can be made at red.tape.taskforce@cabinet-office.x.gsi.gov.uk


Delhi handover

THREE young Shetlanders will be taking part in Thursday’s flag handover ceremony at the Delhi Commonwealth Games when Glasgow takes up the reins for the 2014 event.


Heather Gordon, James Watt and Kathryn Spence have been joining cast members from all over Scotland in months of preparation for the big day, including “military style precision levels of discipline” to handle stage props including a 30 metre long replica of the Clyde Auditoium.

They cast have now gone to Delhi for the big event which is expected to attract a viewing audience of one billion people.


Transylvania trip.

THE SHETLAND to Romania orphanage project says that fundraising is going well for nine volunteers who will travel to Brasov, in Transylvania, to help runs some of the many orphanages and organise children’s activities.

A fancy dressed three-legged pub crawl has been organised for Saturday night and Scottish Gymnastics are donating hundreds of wristbands and other merchandise to be taken out to next summer’s project.

Anyone wishing to help by donating old mobile phones or bag packing can contact markandjenny8018@aol.com