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Davie Tait
10th May 2013, 14:36
http://sff.co.uk/node/797


Fisheries Secretary praises new fishing safety initiative

10 May 2013

During a visit to the Aberdeen fisheries expo today (10 May) Fisheries Secretary Richard Lochhead saw at first hand the new Personal Flotation Devices (PFD) being made available to every commercial fisherman in Scotland in a new initiative led by the Scottish Fishermen’s Federation (SFF).

Under the scheme, every fisherman in Scotland with the correct mandatory certification will have the opportunity to apply for the latest PFD - and get it for free. The SFF is donating in excess of £130,000 via the Scottish Fishermen’s Trust to support the project, aided by £10,000 from the UK Fisheries Offshore Oil & Gas Trust Fund, along with £306,604 European Fisheries Fund support.

Bertie Armstrong, SFF chief executive said: “The fishermen that catch our much valued seafood work in an inherently dangerous environment. We are committed to improving safety at sea and this is why we are pushing forward this exciting new initiative that will encourage fishermen to wear personal flotation devices and also raise the overall awareness of the importance of safety within the industry.”

Scottish Fisheries Secretary Richard Lochhead said: “I am delighted this life saving project has started and I would encourage everyone to take advantage of this crucial scheme. The fishing industry is vital to many of our rural communities all across Scotland and the safety of our fishermen is extremely important. Due to what can be a very dangerous working environment, too many fishermen pay the ultimate sacrifice to bring food to our tables.”

Derek Cardno, SFF Safety Officer, said: “On behalf of the SFF and Marine Scotland I would like to thank Seafish and the Fish Industry Training Association for their support, which helped ensure the industry wide funding application was successful. Praise should also go to project partners the RNLI, Royal National Mission to Deep Sea Fishermen, Ocean Safety and the Maritime & Coastguard Agency who have all agreed to support the distribution of the PFDs. Along with the SFF, these organisations will play a huge role in providing training and advice to fishermen around the country in the form of road shows and the organised handovers of the PFDs. We are committed to ensuring the free distribution of the latest PFDs for fishermen is very much a hands-on affair where we have direct contact and communication with the end-user."
Date:

Davie Tait
10th May 2013, 14:47
http://www.fishupdate.com/news/fullstory.php/aid/19485/SFF_warns_parts_of_Scottish_fishing_fleet__teeteri ng_on_the_brink_.html

SFF warns parts of Scottish fishing fleet 'teetering on the brink'
Published: 10 May, 2013

Large sections of the Scottish whitefish and prawn fleets are teetering on the brink of survival and there is urgent need for transitional aid to prevent the catching sector from being tipped over the edge, the Scottish Fishermen’s Federation is warning the Scottish Government.

In a letter to Fisheries Secretary Richard Lochhead, the SFF says the fishing fleet is ensnared in a web of ‘dysfunctional regulations’ and restrictions that are further exacerbated by on overall depressed market for seafood. While the SFF acknowledges that the Scottish Government has put in place some mitigation measures to help the fleet through these current difficulties, it adds: “Regrettably, despite your efforts, none of these offer remedies. While it is essential that such measures continue, there is now a clear need to address the wider matters of survival.”

The letter, written by SFF chief executive Bertie Armstrong, continues: “At its most fundamental, the catching sector problem lies in the absence of a gap between income achieved for fish at landing and the operating costs of getting them there – grossing figures are one thing, the bottom line is quite another. The gap in fish abundance encountered by fishermen at sea and the constraints of the present technical regulations and quotas is hugely frustrating and continuously expressed by the catching sector.

“This fish abundance is verified by the overall scientific picture of a decade of falling fishing mortality and the corresponding increase in biomass, particularly if taken across the ecosystems. Clearly, the conditions exist for “jam tomorrow”, but while this recovery takes its course and with the additional near-term constraints of a move to Maximum Sustainable Yield (MSY) and some form of land-all obligation, there is, under the present and post CFP reform regulatory framework, going to be no relief for our fishermen today.

“These conditions therefore threaten the survival of large sections of the whitefish and prawn fleets and I do not believe that this is an overstatement. If that is allowed to happen, the demise of the fleets will be accompanied by that of the supporting infrastructure and fishing communities. Perhaps worst of all, there will then be no fishing capacity left to accommodate the fruits of all the sacrifice and effort, when the greatly increased catches under MSY start to become available.

“We can therefore identify a clear transition period between the pressure and constraints of the present and the need to prepare for increased opportunity. This represents a classic case for the need for transitional aid. The details of this will have to be imaginatively worked out, but must embrace all the distressed sectors, and contribute to the preparation for the upturn which will surely follow.”