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Previous Action

Significant progress towards improved inshore fisheries management was made in 2001 with the closure of Loch Torridon and the Inner Sound of Raasay to trawling and the introduction of a voluntary management regime by the local creel fishermen in 2003. However, it quickly became clear that more needed to be done if this initial progress was to be maintained over the longer term.

The Torridon Nephrops Management Group (TNMG) therefore started a sustained process to try to persuade the Scottish Government of the need for further action, but so far without success. The following dates of letters and meetings are examples of the efforts of the TNMG to take on board the development of the Torridon model and its extension to other areas in Scotland. (Correspondence, for example with Gabby Pieraccini of SEERAD) began before these dates by email, however, copies of the emails have been lost with a change of computer). Correspondence and discussions with the SG have focussed on tackling the two key issues:-

1. the closure of more areas to trawling
2. the introduction of effective mandatory controls on effort and stocks.

8 January 2006: response to Marine National Park Consultation explaining the issues.

10 May 2006: TNMG meeting with SEERAD officials. The proposed Inshore Fisheries Groups were raised as the appropriate venue for these discussions despite the fact that they did not exist at that stage.

20 March 2007: Letter to Ross Finnie, MSP inviting him to visit the fishery to discuss the issues arising. The invitation was politely declined.

September 2007: Briefing note sent to Mary MacAllan, Marine Directorate (Management), Frank Strang, Marine Directorate (Conservation), Rob Roberts, Marine Directorate (Inshore).

12 October 2007: Letter to Richard Lochhead, MSP inviting him to visit the fishery to discuss the issues arising. The invitation was politely declined.

Further detailed actions since re-certification of the fishery by Marine Stewardship Council in 2008.

a. TNMG meeting with members of Marine Directorate (Rob Roberts and Katriona Gillespie) held at the Torridon Fishery base in Ardheslaig, Wester Ross. No result other than for government staff to explain that the new Inshore Fisheries Groups would be well placed to deal with such issues. The TNMG felt this was wholly inadequate as there was still no realistic timescale for the IFG to be in existence, let alone taking an active role. (June 08)

b. Personal communication with Richard Lochhead MSP (Cabinet Secretary) in Inverness (SG Cabinet meeting as part of the “National Conversation” at which he requested TNMG send background information to his department (August 08)

c. Briefing note sent to inshore fishing department at the Marine Directorate explaining the position and asking for action to address the issues impacting on the fishery (September 08)

d. Email response from department confirming receipt of our email (September 08)

e. Email from department asking for information to be resent due to failure in original email (October 08)

f. Email from department apologising for lateness of full response, and expressing intent to fully respond in due course (November 08)

g. Personal communication with members of Marine Scotland (previously marine directorate) at the Fishing 2009 exhibition in Glasgow during May 09 following public comments by a TNMG representative during a seminar about MSC certification for Scottish Fisheries. Again, the TNMG were encouraged to wait for the IFG, which was still not ready to function.

h. Intervention by Rhoda Grant MSP on behalf of the TNMG. We are grateful for the letter written by Rhoda Grant to the Cabinet Secretary, asking for details of how the issues affecting the Torridon fishery may be addressed. (29 April 09).
i. Response from the Cabinet Secretary to Rhoda Grant providing details of Scottish Government policy towards MSC certification and the ways in which certification will be encouraged for Scottish fisheries. The letter also suggested that some short term measures might be possible to help alleviate the problems being experienced by the fishery while waiting for the IFG to get fully up and running. (15 July 2009)

j. Invitation extended to Marine Scotland (inshore fishing dept) representatives to attend TNMG meeting to discuss the future for the fishery and the role of the MSC certification in August 2009. (July 09)

k. Attendance by Rob Roberts at TNMG meeting at which he suggested that the TNMG embark on the process of requesting a Regulating Order (RO) for the fishery – the fishermen felt that this would not be an appropriate tool, and it has since come to light that an RO would not legally be an applicable tool in any case. (August 2009)

l. Further correspondence and a meeting with Rhoda Grant, MSP, who has been making a number of enquiries on behalf of the TNMG. (2009 – 2010)

m. Attendance at prawn summit, spatial management and IFG meetings since summer 2010 by Kenny Livingstone (member of TNMG). Further draft reports and papers are being produced by the North West IFG and the Spatial Management Group, however, neither group has the power to implement the measures needed.

Despite these efforts, no progress has been made on the two key issues noted above.