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Letters / Strangling the life out of small communities

After attending a meeting in the town hall in Lerwick on Wednesday (7 June), I was left appalled and astonished after seeing the ‘Highly Protected Marine Areas’ (HPMAs) being proposed to the Scottish government regarding our Scottish fishing waters.

‘We want to get it right’, Scottish Government says after fishing event criticism

It appears to me that a group of inner-city environmentalists, are intent on banning important aspects of our coastal communities’ coexistence with the seas around our shores, they appear to be intent on strangling the life out of the small Scottish communities that have depended on the bounty from the sea to provide sustenance to those coastal communities and their livelihoods for centuries.

Our communities living on the periphery of our nation do not have the fast-food outlets available that city dwellers have at their convenience, but what we do have is the natural habitat of the sea that has sustained the lives of humans’ birds and beasts; all around our nation’s shores for thousands of years.

These environmentalists appear to think they know, how we on the periphery of our nation should live and conduct ourselves regarding the open natural habitat we have lived in all our lives.

Hence, they have been stealthily imposing marine protected areas over vast areas of our islands and countries fishing grounds and are now moving on to the next step of imposing stricter controls on those areas around our shores.

For me these actions raise a few questions: Who are these people truly working for? Who might be controlling their actions? We just do not know.

However, it appears that they are not working for the benefit of the fisherfolk of our own home nation.

From the time of Edward Heaths capitulation to the rule of the EEC, now named the EU; over 60 per cent of our nation’s fishing fleet have been wiped out; to be replaced by fishing fleets from EU nations; as their fishing fleets could not be sustained in their own countries’ coastal waters.

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We are told that 60 per cent of the seabird population has also been wiped out, which comes as no surprise; as I can recall seeing flocks of seabirds following the local fishing boats for miles, feeding on the offal thrown overboard as the crews processed the fish for storage and landing fresh on the local fish markets.

Now 60 per cent of those boats are gone and those fish they once caught are now caught and frozen whole by overseas fishing fleets and thus provide no easy pickings of food for the local bird life as those frozen fish are landed into container lorries and shipped directly to Europe.

Now it appears that some people are intent on wiping out what is left of a once thriving UK fishing industry, that once fished in our own countries coastal waters.

There appears to have been an accumulation of restrictions on the activities and viability of our home fishing fleet over many tens of years, that do not appear to apply; are ignored by or are not enforced on overseas fishing fleets working in our UK nations waters.

Is it possible that the activities of the Green Party, presently in collusion with the SNP in government of our country; are perhaps being controlled for the benefit of nations from overseas, I wonder?

William Polson
Fisherman
Whalsay

Note from the editor:
Wednesday’s public meeting was not about HPMAs but about changes to the management of existing marine protected areas (MPAs). See the advert below which was displayed on the Shetland News website for a period of two weeks ahead of last Wednesday’s meeting.

Please also read our story on the meeting:

‘We want to get it right’, Scottish Government says after fishing event criticism

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