THE SENTENCING of almost 20 pelagic fishermen convicted of illegally landing mackerel and herring worth millions of pounds has been deferred again pending a legal debate later this month.
The High Court in Glasgow has set aside four days between 31 May and 4 June for a “diet of debate” with regards to confiscation proceedings under the Proceeds of Crime (Scotland) Act.
In autumn last year, and in February this year, a total of 17 skippers and relief skippers from Shetland and Fraserburgh admitted making false declarations.
Local fish processor Shetland Catch pled guilty to assisting the skippers in making undeclared landings last August.
SHETLAND police are seeking information about “senseless vandalism” in the isles over the last few days.
Between last Thursday and Monday windows at Lerwick’s Montfield Hospital were damaged.
Between Friday and Monday extensive damage was caused to the public toilets by Meal beach, at Hamnavoe, in Burra.
A police spokesman said the beach would have been busy over the weekend and asked anyone who witnessed anything suspicious to contact Lerwick police station on 01595 692110
“Both premises which suffered the damage offer facilities and services to the Shetland communities and targeting them ultimately only harms the communities themselves,” he said.
Museum plans on hold
PLANS to build an agricultural museum and heritage centre for Shetland in Tingwall have been put on hold for a year.
The committee behind the £1.3 million project have been knocked by the Scottish government rural development programme, the Big Lottery and the Heritage Lottery.
Shetland funding bodies said that no large sums of money would be available for the project.
Chairman Drew Anderson said the committee felt they could not just walk away from the project after all the public support they had received, so they had decided to lie fallow for 12 months to see if the financial climate improved.
“It is extremely disappointing for us as a committee to be forced into this situation, as we feel our project has received a very high level of support from all over Shetland, he said.
“We would ask anyone who has any ideas on how we can lay our hands on large sums of money to please get in touch.”
The project can be followed at www.tingwallmuseum.co.uk.
Rural Priorities alarm
NFU SCOTLAND is seeking early talks with the next Scottish government over delays to the Rural Priorities grant scheme, which will only consider environmental projects.
The government has said applications must be submitted by 15 June, but they will not be considered until September.
NFUS head of rural policy Jonnie hall said this threw into doubt further rounds for business development and rural enterprise and communities
“We cannot assume that there will be further rounds this year, and so there may be no opportunity for those businesses looking to develop capital investments proposals,” he said.
He added that from the start of this month agri-environment projects up to £50,000 on Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs) and Natura Sites will be considered under an ongoing approval process. Applicants for these projects do not need to wait for the September meetings.
SCOTTISH Whitefish Producers Association chief executive Mike Park has been given the wildlife charity WWF’s Award for Conservation Merit 2011 at a special ceremony in Switzerland
The award recognises Mr Park’s leadership in improving conservation measures and encouraging sustainable fishing practices in Scotland and beyond
WWF Scotland director Richard Dixon said: “We are delighted that Mike’s work and leadership in the drive for sustainable white fish fisheries are being rewarded by this WWF conservation merit award.
“His action is very much part of the innovative work being done in Scotland to ensure that fishing continues to play its crucial role in our coastal communities through greater protection for the marine environment.”
Mr Park said: “This prestigious award is clear recognition of the very positive changes being adopted by Scotland’s fishermen and that our efforts are now very much lauded on a broader international stage.
“With others, I remain very much committed to the continued development of the Scottish approach to sustainable harvesting. However, our future plans will be very much governed by the degree of regionalisation and decentralisation that CFP reform brings.”
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