LOCAL fishermen are up in arms after the German registered gill-netter Pesorsa Dos reappeared in the waters to the west of Shetland.
Last year, the Spanish owned vessel was in the centre of a huge controversy after the crew of the Alison Kay (LK57) posted a video that appeared to show the gill netter trying to foul the local trawler’s propeller.
At the time, UK and Scottish authorities said they were unable to intervene and investigate the serious allegations.
However, some weeks later the same vessel was detained by the Irish authorities for allegedly infringing EU fisheries regulations and was escorted to Killybegs.
Following Brexit and the “hugely disappointing” trade deal, the UK has become an independent coastal state, but EU vessels continue to have full access to UK waters until 2026.
The Spanish fleet are covering hundreds of square miles with their gill nets, making it impossible for the local fleet to fish their home grounds.
Fishermen have now privately written directly to the head of Marine Scotland seeking an explanation why the agency’s fisheries patrol vessels appear to avoid inspecting foreign vessels.
Their case has also be taken up by the isles’ parliamentarians who have vowed to make representations in Edinburgh and Whitehall.
MP Alistair Carmichael said: “This should come as no surprise to anyone. Last year they were caught on film deliberately trying to foul the propeller of the Shetland white fish trawler Alison Kay.
“Despite that neither Scottish nor UK enforcement authorities have even tried to prosecute them. Of course they will carry on fishing in these waters in these circumstances. Why wouldn’t they?
“Gill net trawling is an unsustainable practice and needs to be stopped. Until it is, we need to protect our fleet against the pirates that carry it out.”
Shetland MSP Beatrice Wishart, currently a candidate for the Liberal Democrats in the Scottish Parliament elections, added that in the past fisheries ministers blamed the Common Fisheries Policy but that could no longer be an excuse.
Become a supporter of Shetland News
Shetland News is asking its many readers to consider start paying for their dose of the latest local news delivered straight to their PC, tablet or mobile phone.
Journalism comes at a price and because that price is not being paid in today’s rapidly changing media world, most publishers - national and local - struggle financially despite very healthy audience figures.
Most online publishers have started charging for access to their websites, others have chosen a different route. Shetland News currently has over 500 supporters who are all making small voluntary financial contributions. All funds go towards covering our cost and improving the service further.
Your contribution will ensure Shetland News can: -
- Bring you the headlines as they happen;
- Stay editorially independent;
- Give a voice to the community;
- Grow site traffic further;
- Research and publish more in-depth news, including more Shetland Lives features.
If you appreciate what we do and feel strongly about impartial local journalism, then please become a supporter of Shetland News by either making a single payment or monthly subscription.
Support us from as little as £3 per month – it only takes a minute to sign up. Thank you.Support Shetland News