PRESSURE group Animal Concern has called for the resignation of Scottish fishing secretary Richard Lochhead over comments he made about the current mackerel dispute with Faroe and Iceland.
In a press statement released at the weekend, Mr Lochhead claimed that the mackerel fishery had been “sustainably managed for the past 10 years by Scottish fishermen”.
Animal Concern campaign consultant John Robins said the statement was “misleading”, considering Mr Lochhead’s own department had led an investigation that has so far led to eight fishing skippers admitting they landed more than £22 million of mackerel and herring at Lerwick’s Shetland Catch processing factory between 2002 and 2005.
Mr Robins said: “This is an extremely serious mistake by Richard Lochhead and it makes his position untenable.
“He has praised Scottish fishermen for protecting fish stocks at a time when many of them, including recognised industry leaders, were making fortunes by illegally landing vast tonnages of over-quota fish.
“If Lochhead did not know about the widely reported court cases brought earlier this year by his own officials then he should resign for being negligent. If he did know about the prosecutions yet still went ahead with this totally incorrect and misleading statement he should resign for being totally incompetent.
“Either way he must go and let someone more interested in protecting our marine environment take over. At the moment the relationship between the Scottish fishing industry and the Scottish government is very similar to that between Harry Corbett and Sooty – only less entertaining.”
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