Future of Scotland's fishing fleets

19 Aug 2009 12:11 PM

A new report mapping out how Scotland's fishing fleets can increase profitability has been unveiled.

The 'Profitable Futures for Fishing' report was carried out by Seafish on behalf of the Fuel Task Force (FTF).

The segment by segment analysis of the Scottish fleet has identified over 30 actions that may help to increase fleet profit for the scallops, nephrops, demersal, pelagic and crab and lobster sectors.

The FTF will now recommend the report to the Scottish Fisheries Council (SFC) and ask the relevant sub-groups to take responsibility for taking the actions forward.

Fisheries Secretary Richard Lochhead said:

"This report is a valuable contribution towards building a successful future for fisheries in Scotland. The report was drafted in consultation with the industry and I would like to thank every fisherman who attended the consultation events and provided their valuable time and ideas.

"There is a clear appetite from our fishermen to improve the quality of information upon which decision-making is based. Encouragingly the report also demonstrates just how committed they are to enhancing Scotland's reputation for having sustainable fisheries in which responsible practice is rewarded.

"One of the other main issues to arise from the report is the desire to develop an an efficient and effective modern Scottish fleet which can attract young people to the industry, something we are taking forward as a matter of urgency.

"The recommendations provide genuine challenges for the industry in order to become more profitable. I will be discussing the way forward at the next meeting of the Scottish Fisheries Council."

James Brown, chair of the Fuel Task Force, said:

"When this report was commissioned I thought it was vital that we ask genuine fishermen what they saw as the obstacles to a more profitable future. The ideas and actions on the table represent the views of the fishing industry as to how we move this industry towards a more profitable future."

The Scottish Fisheries Council's Fuel Task Force agreed to take a segment by segment approach to identifying actions that might help to improve fleet profit during a period of very high fuel prices. The fuel task force intended that the actions identified should not come from external parties but rather from vessel owners, based on their experience and ideas about how to improve fleet profit. Although fuel prices decreased, the project was considered to remain worthwhile and after a tender process, the project started in December 2008.

Consultation events were held for each fleet segment, to find out members' views on which actions could be taken to improve profit. Attendees at the events were very enthusiastic in their participation and nearly 200 proposed actions arose. The project team, consisting of Seafish, AEA Technology and Anderson Solutions, then analysed the ideas and outputs from the consultation events and evaluated the actions using a multi-criteria analysis system.

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