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Frustrated creel fishers taking the fight to court

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North creel fishers are seeking a judicial review of a Scottish Government decision affecting competing interests in the Skye Inner Sound.

The North West Responsible Fishermen’s Association, a regional creeling organisation and member of the Scottish Creel Fishermen’s Federation (SCFF), proposed separate zones for prawn trawlers and creelers.

But Marine Scotland – the executive agency responsible for managing Scotland’s fisheries – rejected the idea after a public consultation.

Alistair Sinclair, the federation’s national co-ordinator, hopes the court system will now recognise community and economic benefits restricting “mobile activities” in the sound.

Mr Sinclair said: “After years of frustration in dealing with Marine Scotland, SCFF has no option other than to challenge Scottish Government policy and decision-makers at the highest court in the land.”

According to SCFF, consultation responses were “dominated by members of the trawl industry who will object, as a matter of course, to any restriction on their freedom to trawl”.

SCFF said: “The pilot was designed to provide important and potentially unique evidence with national implications for the management of our nephrops (prawn) fishery.

“Whilst we understand that the mobile sector is an important part of the fishing industry, it’s interest is not the same as the national interest.

“We also know that the mobile sector is well-funded and organised, and it will fight any erosion of the freedom to trawl.”

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