Scallop divers and creelers can aid Scotland’s marine recovery

Creelers and scallop divers can play a key role in our marine protections.

The experience of creelers and scallop divers in how they approach sustainable fishing can help shape Scotland’s marine protections for generations to come, say the Scottish Greens.

Rural Affairs spokesperson Ariane Burgess MSP has called on government colleagues to ensure they have a role in forming fisheries management policies to complement no-take zones and other initiatives.

She also welcomed an approach by the Scottish Creel Fishermen's Federation offering to work with ministers and officials in developing planned Highly Protected Marine Areas.

In a question to Mairi Gougeon, Scottish Government Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs, Land Reform and Islands, Ms Burgess said:

“Scotland has a legal duty to manage our seas to Good Environmental Status. That includes minimising seabed damage and maintaining fish stocks and wider biodiversity. 

“Supporting low impact fishers like creelers and divers will help us achieve this commitment while maintaining jobs in fishing. Does the Cabinet Secretary agree with me that creelers and scallop divers must be at the heart of fisheries management policies that will complement HPMAs?”

In her answer Ms Gougeon committed to working with fishers and stakeholders on ensuring a healthy marine environment, and publishing updates on work already underway. 

Afterwards Ms Burgess said:

“The need for Scotland to protect and heal our seabeds and our marine habits is irrefutable, and the best way to do that is of course to ensure that we harness the wisdom of those stewards of our inshore waters.

“Traditional, sustainable practices that have been observed for generations as opposed to dragging a dredge indiscriminately across the sea floor causing years worth of damage, offers much we can learn from. 

“I am pleased to have secured the Cabinet Secretary’s confirmation that she will engage further, and I would also warmly welcome the offer of creelers and scallop divers to help shape and deliver sustainable solutions.

“Our ocean is precious. The lungs of our planet, the food on our plates, the link between our communities. We must protect it at all costs, and working together can achieve that.”

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