Words and pictures by Bill Heaney
Cardross man John Robins of Animal Concern has written to Ministers Fergus Ewing MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Rural Economy and Tourism, and Kate Forbes MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Finance, urging them to ensure that any grant cash goes to the fishing industry’s small fry and not to large, mega rich companies.
His latter, which also went to other relevant Ministers and their Shadows, said: “I write re your decision to use £5m of public money to help the Scottish fishing and seafood industry during the current Covid 19 pandemic.
“I urge the Scottish Government to use that money to support smaller companies and self-employed members of the fishing and seafood community and not to be given to wealthy, multinational fish farm businesses and very wealthy trawler owners.
“I ask you to take stringent steps to ensure not one penny of public money is given to any individuals, companies or companies owned by persons convicted during the Black Fishing scandal, which was a well organised multi-million £ crime, which made a mockery of fish conservation quotas for several years. “
He said larger companies and multinationals would be able to claim 80% of staff wages and would also be able to better withstand any disruption to their business during the current coronavirus crisis.
Mr Robins added: “Smaller, domestic companies and self-employed skippers often, though not always, use more sustainable fishing techniques and operate in ways which cause less environmental damage.
“Many of these people are in a far more precarious financial situation and will have much more need for financial support than do larger, far wealthier companies at this time. Please spend our £5 million wisely and where it is most needed.”
E-MAIL FROM: John F. Robins, Secretary and Campaigns Consultant,
Animal Concern, Post Office Box 5178, Dumbarton G82 5YJ.
Tel. 01389-841-639, Mobile: 07721-605521.
Meanwhile, Argyll and Bute Council has welcomed the announcement from Scottish Government today (26 March) of a £5M package of support for the seafood fishing industry.
Meanwhile, Ruth Crosbie reports from Argyll, that this funding will be offered to over 650 seafood fishing companies across Scotland to help them through the coronavirus outbreak.
Councillor Aileen Morton, pictured here with Minister Kate Forbes on a recent visit to Argyll, said: “Seafood, fishing and hospitality are all vital industries that contribute to the economic development across Argyll and Bute. The outbreak is having a devastating impact on our coastal communities with the collapse of export and hospitality markets. I am pleased that the Government has recognised the need to offer financial support to all businesses during this difficult time.”
An initial payment of 50% of two months’ average earnings will be made to owners of all full time Scottish registered fishing vessels of 12 metres length and under – the vast majority of which are in the creel and dive sectors, many of whom operate in remote and island communities.
Support is also being developed for the onshore processing industry – one of the largest employers in Scotland’s coastal communities – and others in the shellfish growing sector which is being affected by the loss of trade and markets.
Marine Scotland will be writing to all vessels and relevant representative Associations with more details.