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May Meeting to Tackle Crippling Fuel Costs

SCOTLAND - Scottish Fisheries Minister Richard Lochhead is to meet representatives from across the Scottish fishing industry at the SFF headquarters in Aberdeen in early May.

The meeting, planned for Monday 12 May, will discuss the acute difficulties being faced by the Scottish fishing industry with the price of fuel.

Industry representatives from all sectors intend to make it clear that the damage being done to a recently optimistic industry by the relentless rises in fuel costs is unacceptable. It hopes the outcome will shed some light on realistic ways forward.

Federation chief executive Bertie Armstrong said that the world price of fuel is not set by this government and a fuel subsidy is neither possible nor demanded. However, SFF believes that a realistic package of survivability measures is achievable.

"We are not asking for special treatment but for a level playing field."
SFF chief executive, Bertie Armstrong

"We are asking for transparency over the kind of measures that our European commercial competitors in the French and Spanish fleets are receiving," said Mr Armstrong. "If competition rules are being breached, than they must be challenged right now, but if it is innovative and legal measures that are being utilised, then they must be matched," he added.

It is hoped that the Scottish Government will be able to investigate possible solutions in the period leading up to the meeting and bring some options to the table.

“We are not asking for special treatment but for a level playing field. Following some painful changes including major de-commissioning, real progress has been made in sustainable fishing, under a carefully developed programme of cooperation between the Scottish industry, science and government. We must not let this investment in the future slip away,” said Mr Armstrong.