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Ross highlights renewable energy and marine protection threats to Scottish fishing grounds

By Alan Beresford

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Douglas Ross (centre) chats with SWFPA chief executive Mike Park (left) and chairman David Milne durign his visit.
Douglas Ross (centre) chats with SWFPA chief executive Mike Park (left) and chairman David Milne durign his visit.

THE loss of fishing grounds took centre stage when Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross MSP met with Scottish fishermen’s leaders.

Mr Ross, who is standing for the party in the Aberdeenshire North and Moray East constituency, highlighted the issue of ‘spatial squeeze’ amid concerns that fishing grounds could be lost.

He went on to reiterate his commitment to championing fishing waters against this the threat.

Mr Ross stressed that fishing is among the Scottish Conservatives’ top priorities ahead of the general election as he met the Scottish Pelagic Fishermen's Association (SPFA) and the Scottish White Fish Producers Association (SWFPA) in Fraserburgh.

He spoke to Ian Gatt of the SPFA, who emphasised the benefits of being out of the EU and the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP).

Mr Gatt, along with SWFPA chief executive Mike Park and chairman David Milne, highlighted the ongoing battle to protect fishing waters from issues including the expansion of offshore renewables and HPMAs (Highly Protected Marine Areas).

It follows previous concerns from the sector that the SNP’s fishing ban on 10 per cent of Scottish waters may return under a different guise in the future.

Mr Ross said: “There are serious concerns from the fishing industry about the impact offshore wind and marine protection may have on the security of our food supplies.

“This is why I want to ensure that in parliament, food security is given the same level of priority as energy security.

“As offshore wind developments progress, we cannot jeopardise the future of our fishing fleets or threaten the sustainability of our stocks.

“We need far better collaboration for offshore industries and the fishing sector to make sure one isn’t disadvantaged for the other.”

Also standing in Aberdeenshire North and Moray East are: Ian Bailey (Liberal Democrats); Andy Brown (Labour); Jo Hart (Reform UK); Seamus Logan (SNP).

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