A network of new Highly Protected Marine Areas (HPMAs) will have a catastrophic impact on the industry, ministers are being warned. The Scottish Fishermen’s Federation (SFF) said the strict conservation zones were far too big a price for fishermen to pay when they lacked ecological justification and were being introduced for purely political reasons.

In addition, the government’s timeframe of having HPMAs operating by 2026 is wholly unrealistic for defining or establishing baselines, the SFF’s submission to the Scottish Government HPMA consultation states.


Photo by Crawford Jolly

SFF chief executive Elspeth Macdonald said: “The Scottish Government’s blue economy plans have been hijacked by the Greens and will push the fishing industry into the red. Fishing has a very low carbon footprint relative to other forms of protein, and the Scottish Government’s own healthy diet guidance is for people to eat fish at least twice a week.”

“And yet on top of the existing spatial squeeze caused by the dash to build huge offshore windfarms with little consideration for their impact on fisheries, the Government wants to close a further 10% of our waters to fishing vessels – with no evidence whatsoever that doing so will achieve ministers’ vague conservation aims, nor any attempt to understand the effect of displacing the fishing fleet.”

The SFF is proposing that two carefully designed pilot areas are designated, one inshore and one offshore, that would allow government and stakeholders to work together, learn how to introduce them properly and plan the data collection and analysis needed to assess their impact.

Ms Macdonald added: “SFF is urging the Scottish Government to have a radical rethink on this and at very least accept our alternative proposal for two pilot projects to assess the need, practicalities and costs/benefits in a proper scientific manner. As they stand, the proposals will have a catastrophic impact on the fishing industry and our coastal communities that depend on it for jobs and income.”

The full news piece can be read in Fishing Daily, The Times and Fish Focus. 

Government consultation on HPMAs

Marine Scotland have announced that the consultation on HPMAs in Scotland will now close on 17 April 2023. Further information on the consultation can be read here.

No Comment

Comments are closed.