Commenting on the announcement that the Sound of Barra is to be designated a site of Special Area of Conservation (SAC), Na h-Eileanan an Iar SNP MP Angus MacNeil said:

“Obviously, no one would have wanted this SAC.  It has been a brainwave of faceless bureaucrats in the EU, who have shown disdain for the areas and communities involved by not even sending the most junior person from Brussels involved with this, to explain to the communities their reasoning and why they would potentially fine the Scottish Government if there was no SAC.  This behaviour as well as the Common Fisheries Policy, is a classic example of what gives the EU a bad name and is what is known as a democratic deficit.

“That said, the SAC that has been imposed on the Sound of Barra, has been tempered as much as possible by the Environment Minister Paul Wheelhouse.  This will be the first SAC that will be under local control, meaning the communities adjacent to the Sound of Barra working closely with Marine Scotland, not SNH.  It should also mean a bureaucratic job in an area that sees very little of these types of jobs from public bodies.

“Nothing will change from the fishing practise of last week, when the SAC comes into play, whether it be creel fishing, salmon farming etc, the intention of the Minister is that this will continue unaffected.

“Finally, the important thing now is to ensure that while we have had the waste of time and hassle of this European bureaucratic interference, that we do see at least somebody benefitting with a job and the fishermen completely unaffected.”