Politicians Pledge to Protect Fishing

Politicians have pledged to protect fishing during a major exhibition at Scottish Parliament.

More than 50 MSPs and three-party leaders have put their names to a pledge that commits them to protect and support Scotland’s vital fishing industry and coastal communities.

The backing comes as the sector is represented by a moving exhibition featuring portraits and accounts of those working in and around fishing, including vessel owners, skippers, deckhands, scientists and analysts.

‘Pride in the Seas’ is an exhibition and campaign run by the Scottish Fishermen’s Federation (SFF) in partnership with renowned photographer Ian Georgeson and was held in the Garden Lobby at Holyrood between 19 and 21 March.

CEO of the Scottish Seafood Assocation was invited to attend as an ambassador for the industry and was delighted to witness a celebration of Scotland’s strong fishing heritage in parliament – but also the pledged support for today’s fishing industry.

Mairi Gougeon, Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs, Land Reform and Islands said:

“The spirit and vitality of our fishing industry and coastal communities is something of which we should all be rightly proud, and which is powerfully captured by this exhibition.

“The Scottish fishing industry is world renowned and remains at the forefront of sustainable fishing practices. It helps support many jobs around the country and is embedded in our culture.

“The Scottish Government shares the Scottish Fishermen’s Federation’s vision of a fishing industry that endures and thrives.

“Through robust evidence and marine planning we will continue to work with all sectors to manage the increased competition for our shared marine space, supporting commitments to net zero, protection of the marine environment, energy security, food security, and thriving communities.”

The pledge signed by politicians called on enhanced support of Scotland’s fishing communities, fishing’s role in food security, the importance of protection against loss of access to key fishing grounds and ensuring that policies recognise and support fishing’s role in producing low carbon, healthy and nutritious food.

Elspeth Macdonald, Chief Executive with the SFF, said:

“It has been heartening to see so many MSPs and their teams engage very positively with us over the last few days.

“Given Scotland’s geography, many have coastal fishing communities within their constituencies and know firsthand of the pressures that they – and the industry as a whole – has been under in recent years. It was great also to have MSPs from more urban and inland parts of Scotland recognise the importance of our sector, and to give us their support.

“Fishing has a vital role in food security and the country’s net zero aspirations – and the provision of sustainably sourced and low-carbon protein has never been more vital.

“This exhibition taps into the inherent pride and responsibility that those working in fishing feel and whilst there will always be things we can improve on, it is characterised by responsible, innovative businesses seeking to improve conditions for the next generation.”

The full exhibition and case studies are now available to view on the SFF website: https://www.sff.co.uk/news/category/pride-in-the-seas

Scottish Parliament, Edinburgh, Scotland