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Protection for Island Cockle Industry

by the Fish Site Editor
19 November 2009, at 12:00am

SCOTLAND - SNP MSP for the Western Isles, Alasdair Allan, has obtained an assurance from the Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs that he will legislate in the next few weeks to protect the future of cockle populations in the Western Isles.

The move follows a complaint from Dr Allan that some cockle fishermen from outside the islands were lifting juvenile cockles in Harris and permanently threatening both the industry and the environment in the area.

Alasdair Allan said: “Some time ago I visited cockle fishermen at work in Harris and was extremely concerned by their complaints that people from elsewhere were working in a completely unsustainable way on the islands beaches.

“These people were apparently lifting all cockles regardless of size, unlike local people who have always left juvenile cockles in place to allow stocks to recover.

“I raised this with Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs, Richard Lochhead, and was pleased to receive a letter this week in which he shared my concerns.

“Mr Lochhead is undertaking to examine this problem, with a view to introducing a statutory instrument in the course of the next few weeks and introducing a minimum landing size of 30 millimetres.

“I believe this will be welcomed both by cockle fishermen and by environmentalists alike and I will be working to ensure that the Statutory Instrument comes before parliament at the earliest opportunity.”

the Fish Site Editor