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Last Updated: Thursday, 11 May 2006, 10:40 GMT 11:40 UK
New shellfish strategy launched
Fishing boats in Stornoway
Stornoway's fishermen will benefit from the new strategy
Scottish Fisheries Minister Ross Finnie has launched a strategy to safeguard Scotland's langoustine industry - worth an estimated 200m a year.

The scheme has been developed with input from prawn fishermen in the Highlands and Islands.

Mr Finnie said it aims to protect shellfish stocks and promote traceability of where seafood comes from and processes it goes through.

The Western Isles Fishermen's Association welcomed the strategy.

Mr Finnie announced the scheme at the European Seafood Exhibition in Brussels on Wednesday.

He said: "First we have to be clear that out at sea when we are harvesting langoustine we have to look at some of the traditional measures to ensuring that we maintain the stocks.

Certainly in the Outer Hebrides here we see that the new strategy will ensure that we have a profitable, sustainable and well managed industry
Duncan MacInnes
Fishermen's association

"Second, and just as important, we need those dealing in langoustine to be accredited.

"Accreditation in the industry is becoming a key element in how we are able to sustain and maintain our position as one of the world leaders in this market.

"Third, is the management of the market itself so that we ensure that there is a constant steady flow of the product when the consumer and the ultimate buyer wants it."

The Western isles association's Duncan MacInnes said the strategy would secure a long-term future for trawlers and creel boats operating out of Stornoway.

He said: "Certainly in the Outer Hebrides here we see that the new strategy will ensure that we have a profitable, sustainable and well managed industry.

EU legislation

"It will allow new entrants to come in without paying additional large amounts of money for licensing which has happened in the past.

"We are also seeing a permit scheme for the under 10 metres sector coupled with a part limitation.

"The industry has been calling for this for the last 10 years."

Mr MacInnes added: "The government sat down with the industry and listened to the industry."

New EU legislation means that by mid 2006 all farm raised and wild catch fish and shellfish must come with complete trace-back records.

Young's Seafood in Stornoway is already running a 'sea to plate' scheme which allows it to trace all of its langoustine.

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