Page last updated at 08:19 GMT, Monday, 10 May 2010 09:19 UK

Warning issued over Scotland's fishing future

Deckhands gut fish trawled from the North Sea
The SFF said the future of the industry was at stake

Scottish fishing leaders have warned large sections of the fleet could be forced out of business unless urgent government action is taken.

The Scottish Fishermen's Federation said the incoming UK government and Scottish government had to realise the future of the industry was at stake.

SFF chief executive Bertie Armstrong said politicians had to listen to what fishermen have to say.

Mr Armstrong said: "Survival is the key issue."

He explained: "The single most important issue for a fisherman is whether his boat or business survives and makes a profit. If that doesn't happen, then nothing else matters.

"A fisherman will try to make the best of his opportunities, but survival depends on fishing opportunity and that lies in the hands of fisheries managers.

"In the first instance, we depend on London and Edinburgh to act in the best interests of the industry."

'Clear commitment'

Mr Armstrong added: "Now that the election with its inevitable diversion and distortion is past, the imperative for government is to listen carefully to the noise from fishermen on the quay side and reinvigorate their efforts to make a difference right now."

A Scottish government spokesman said: "The Scottish government believes that fisheries management cannot be dictated from Brussels and should be returned to Scottish control.

"We will continue making that case in London and Brussels and intend to take these issues to the new UK government as soon as we have one.

"Despite the short-term problems we must confront, we share a clear commitment to putting in place a framework that will protect jobs, fish stocks and the communities who depend on a thriving industry."

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