Mike Park, chief executive of the Scottish White Fish Producers’ Association, condemned the recent illegal activity in Gairloch, especially as it is an area where vulnerable marine habitats are being protected.
He underlined the fact that operators of the vast majority of scallop vessels in the UK behave responsibly and fish within the law and the terms of their licence conditions.
“Regulations are critical to ensure that the interests of all stakeholders are balanced, and within the SWFPA we have a strong tradition of working with others to protect stocks and the marine environment.
“The SWFPA was instrumental in calling for electronic monitoring on board scallop vessels above 15 metres. We are now calling on the Scottish Government to introduce such measures on board every vessel dredging for scallops, irrespective of size. It is important that we put an end to these sorts of unwelcome transgressions.
“We will be writing to Cabinet Secretaries Fergus Ewing and Roseanna Cunningham to push for tougher legislation so that technology can be installed as soon as possible on board all scallop vessels. There can be no credible or rational excuse to delay its introduction.”
According to fisheries statistics compiled by the government, 11,000 tonnes of scallops worth £25.9 million were landed in Scotland last year, most of which was exported abroad.