Page last updated at 07:00 GMT, Friday, 23 October 2009 08:00 UK

Cheap prices 'stifling fishing'

Fishing boat
Fishermen will raise concerns over the pressures on the industry

Fishing leaders are to tell Scotland's Fisheries Secretary Richard Lochhead that catch limits and low prices are stifling the industry.

Thirty directors of the Scottish White Fish Producers' Association will meet the minister in Aberdeen.

The SWFPA said prices had been hit by a number of factors - including big buyers moving away from North Sea fish.

The Scottish government has said it is determined to help fishermen survive and for the industry to grow stronger.

Chairman of the SWFPA Mike Park told BBC Scotland: "We have to look at our own supply to the market, it fluctuates wildly and at times when we supply heavily the price goes down, so we have to look at ourselves.

The money is the thing nowadays, but for some people, like myself, fishing isn't a job it's a way of life
Alexander West

"We have to look at starting to supply niche markets. We have to continue to look at improving our external image, so that other large fish companies, the corporate companies, come back in and want to buy our product in large tonnages.

"So there are many things that we have to approach and deal with."

The minister will also hear from teenage fishermen about their fears for the future.

Alexander West, from Fraserburgh, said he wanted to go to sea because it was all he had seen growing up.

He said: "It's been in the family for hundreds of years, it's what my town is based around and I just want to go away and do it.

"The money is the thing nowadays, but for some people, like myself, fishing isn't a job it's a way of life and it's an enjoyable way of life and we just want to do that."

The government has said it is seeking more catch quota opportunities for vessels using CCTV to reduce the amount of fish being thrown back into the sea but that it is tied by the Common Fisheries Policy.

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