Speaking in the Fisheries Debate at Westminster today Na h-Eileanan an Iar SNP MP, Angus B MacNeil raised the growing desire for a community quota for pelagic fish for the Hebrides. Mr MacNeil called for action on dogfish discards and the maintenance of the 16-18 days regime to manage the fishery in the Minch.
Mr MacNeil said:
“In a wide ranging debate on fisheries, which covered a diverse list of fishing concerns across the UK and beyond in some cases, I put forward the concerns of the fishing industry of the islands at Westminster.
“The dumping of healthy dogfish, which was also touched on by a Cornish MP as there is no quota to land them is an issue that has to be dealt with. This non-targeted accidental bycatch could be landed and sold for consumption but is instead thrown back into the sea dead. I have called on UK Fisheries Minister, Richard Benyon to enable quota for this fish, which could add £600-£1,000 to a fishing trip in the winter months.
“I also called for a community quota for herring and mackerel to come into being in the Hebrides. We know that our waters are at times abundant with herring and mackerel but unfortunately, no one in the West Coast of Scotland can catch these fish, which was a traditional part of the Hebridean diet as well as a traditional industry. A quota of around 200 tonnes for both mackerel and herring would be appreciated locally and would not be a huge slice of the 13,500 tonnes West of Scotland herring quota and likewise the UK’s 191,000 tonnes of mackerel. This could be of great local benefit and could be an example of regional management and giving local say over the fishing grounds of the islands as well as providing local employment both at sea and onshore.”