Scottish Marine Protected Areas Essential

A trawler cuts through the murderous waves, the crew facing defiantly each chill salt blast, its hold brimming with the cod sorely won from the depths. These men are the backbone of family life and the lifeblood of communities: rugged of countenance, unbowed of spirit, the fisherman has, to drive home the cliché, salt in his veins. Perhaps that the ocean is the Earth’s final untameable wild permits us to dally in such tropes. With the poles conquered in a plethora of ways by explorers grasping at originality, the mountains mapped, and the last uncontacted tribes – perhaps – subsumed or extirpated, humanity has run dry the well of wonders with which it satiates its ever-inquisitive spirit. The sea however remains an enigma, independent and ever-changing, with those daring to risk its caprice perhaps understandably held in the same vintage as Scott or Bingham.

goc_fewer-fishSafely embalmed in this sentimentality, the fishing industry has long escaped any meaningful scrutiny or control, and in doing so has taken a path of such self-destructive avarice and selfishness as would be dismissed insane by Ahab himself. If world fish stocks are in as perilous a state as many reports claim (‘We knew fish catches were too high. But it’s much worse than we thought‘), then the Firth of Clyde is the nadir to which they head. Subject to quite stunning government mismanagement, one of the most fecund fishing grounds in the Atlantic has become a maritime desert in the space of fifty years: gone the thousands of anglers lining its shores in the seventies and eighties, gone the charter boats, and gone, most ironically, the bulk of the trawlers themselves, replaced by scallop dredgers, desperately scraping the seabed like the hands of a starving man through barren soil.

The fishing free for all of the last fifty years has given birth to an exclusive members club in the Clyde Fishermen’s Association which, should it get its way at Holyrood’s Rural Affairs, Climate Change, and Environment Committee meeting this morning, will resume its unfettered devastation of the firth. A well funded hybrid of fishermen and government, they have made their message clear: to us alone what remains the Clyde’s fishing industry. Anglers, creelers, divers, and anyone who simply believes that the health of the ocean is not only of more import than short-term greed, but beyond monetary value, will simply have to accept their place.

That the Clyde’s decline went hand-in-hand with the removal of gear restrictions in the 1960s and of the three mile limit in 1984 is, were the association’s membership to be believed, a mere coincidence. Fish landings – records of which are available on the Scottish Government website – of previously abundant species such as cod, saithe, and whiting, are practically nil not, so they claim, due to overfishing, but because there is more money in scallops and langoustines. Anglers whose log books have for decades documented events are dismissed as ignorant nuisances, their sport’s loss to both local culture and as an economic benefit an irrelevance.

In a reaction reminiscent of climate change deniers or Bible Belt Christians baulking at the theory of evolution, any scientific evidence which suggests that dragging half a ton of spiked metal over maerl beds and the nursery grounds of fish is – just possibly – detrimental, has been dismissed as sorcery, the hocus-pocus necromancy of scientists funded by wealthy foreign meddlers hellbent on destroying a traditional way of life.

And this is the Clyde Fishermen’s Association’s great mirage: by playing up to the Scottish tale of emigration and land loss, the debate over Marine Protected Areas is portrayed as one of job loss for oppressed natives versus the crazed whims of middle class white settlers. This is a bluff of the highest order. While, by tradition, many fishermen may be working class, by earning money which would humble a manager on an oil platform their cries of injustice are not only an insult to those struggling on minimum wage in the impoverished towns which line the Clyde, they are baseless. Neither the MPAs nor the further conservation methods proposed by the Sustainable Inshore Fisheries Trust will lead to an automatic reduction of the fleet, but merely allow the recovery of areas of the seabed via restricting their access. While logic, and successfully managed MPAs in other parts of the world, suggests that this will in turn allow the return of the fin fishing and angling sectors to areas outwith the MPAs as stocks recover over time, it is something the CFA simply will not countenance.

Their proletarian mask has, alas, slipped. As its merry band of plucky protesters assemble outside Parliament this week, none other than Jamie McGrigor – Tory MSP for the Highlands and Islands and Honorary Chairman of the Clyde Fishermen’s Association – will put forward a movement that Scotland’s entire network of MPAs, including South Arran, be annulled. For so long the darling of the SNP, the fishing industry has now found itself the subject of unwanted scrutiny, with Richard Lochhead MSP thankfully less likely to offer unequivocal support to its outrageous demands than his predecessors were whilst in opposition.

In an unlikely last roll of the dice, the Clyde Fishermen’s Association has thrown itself on a political party more desperate than itself. Selfishness in common, if little else, they make interesting bedfellows, but ones unlikely to derail a government which looks ready to dismiss the delusion of a fisherman’s tale and accept that only through conservation can the Clyde, and all of Scotland’s vast marine ecosystem, return to its historic glory.

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  1. Dougie Blackwood says:

    This article is well founded; the seas are becoming deserts where fish no longer shoal. The problem is not however confined to the Clyde; the North Sea is struggling to sustain the numbers of European fishermen to that have a living from it. Without this wider catch area the Clyde is, as said, scraped clean.

    Overall fishery policy is decided in Brussles and the Scottish government is excluded from any say in that negotiation. The interests of Scotland’s fishermen are traded for other benefits by Westminster. It’s tough for the fishermen but the article is quite right; we must maintain the Clyde and other inshore waters for the benefit of all.

    1. Ali Inkster says:

      What utter horse shit this MPAs are the spawn of holyrood and a bunch of ignorant hippies. The biggest danger to the Scottish fleet is the scoti government.

      1. Willie Beedie says:

        Here Ali, WTF, am agreeing with you for a change, really losing the battle to keep my membership of that party going, will remain independence comitted but will never put an X beside the SNP again, which I have done since I started voting 22 years ago

      2. Robin Stevenson says:

        My goodness Ali

        Good to see that you actually manage to drag yourself away from the ST forum and the Daily Record occasionally?

        So rather simply name call those that you disagree with, let’s instead hear your opinion? Two simple questions:

        1/ Have fish stocks depleted drastically over the last 50 years?
        2/ If not MPAs, what do you suggest?

        1. colin says:

          Well said, l love to read comments that offer counter arguments, as you suggest, not those that belong in football forums or The Mirror where moderators are largely absent.

  2. colin says:

    There are two forces at work here, we have scientific researchers on one hand and corporate greed on the other. when the former is reliant on the latter for grants or funds we have the obfuscation we see today.

    l have witnessed declining fish stocks all over the world since the sixties, at the same time have witnessed the deniers increase in both influence and numbers.

    The question is simple, are there less fish or not and are fish being allowed to reproduce in the numbers required for the market?……any doubt then action should be taken immediately.

    Of course fishermen will tell you that there has never been so many fish and of course scientists will tell you that stocks are about to collapse….both have a vested interest

    l have been a boat angler for over 50 years and have a vested interest in being able to catch a few fish for the pot, freezer and simply to return most of them to fight another day. l have fished in the south Atlantic for sports fish and here in the North sea for cod or haddock and the problems l have seen regarding fish stocks are universal… the first fish to decline are those with the most commercial value then it all goes downhill from there until they go for the bait fish in one last shake of the dice. (mackerel and sand eels) In the South Atlantic it was the pilchard and in the North sea we see the mackerel being decimated with most small boat owners predicting that they will disappear like the herring before them.

    We should stop theorising about climate change and face up to the problem which is that thanks to modern technology, fishing boats have become super efficient and are taking too many fish before they are able to spawn successfully.

    While the creation of reserves might offer a temporary reprieve, the fact is that multi million pound fishing boats aided by electronics that have eliminated guesswork are catching too many fish.

    1. Ali Inkster says:

      So you operate a catch and release for bottom caught fish while angling from a boat? you sir are full of shit few if any fish hauled up by rod and line will survive the release. I have fished from boats all my life and losing one near the surface means it ends up feeding the birds.

      1. colin says:

        l agree with you if fishing in deep water but l fish the Forth (Dunbar area) in no more than 10- 15 meters and l can assure you that released fish live to fight another day……l can prove this because l have caught the same fish some hours later, easily identified by the same bit of cut lip where l removed the hook. l am sure many anglers will confirm my story (both sea and fresh water).

        Mackerel do not do well when handled but l eat, along with my dogs, all the mackerel l catch.

  3. John Craig says:

    Here is an article with which I am in full accord. All the salient points bar one are covered in the demise of the once fabulous Firth of Clyde marine eco-system. The stupendous arrogance and ignorance of Glasgow City Council in their dumping of thousands of tons raw sewage in the firth on a weekly basis has been omitted. The effects of this were devastating in a way few can comprehend today. So what’s missing now ?
    As a boy on holiday in the fifties catching Whiting and Haddock from the pier at Dunoon. Watching the firth turn white with froth as the mackerel shoals arrived, something still seen until the early seventies. The massive British Record cod taken off the Gantocks again the early seventies. The descriptions by a diver at the torpedo range at Arrochar of the cod ” the size of collie dogs” arriving on the spawning grounds in Loch Long. The seals that followed them, the Orca that followed the Seals, the basking Sharks. All gone.
    The greed of the fishermen who indulged in pair trawling in lochs Long and Fyne and the blanket of filth which enveloped the floor of the firth between them brought about an end to this wonderful eco- system. In 1984, a shore angling competition in which some 1,500 anglers took part had a remarkable and happy outcome for one angler. He caught a tiny fish (species un-known) weighing all of 7 drams and that was it for the day. For a laugh, he took it to the weigh in. It was the only fish caught that day and with a £1 best fish and a £1 best catch he was £3,000 better of.
    The Clyde has paid a disgustingly high price for the lack of care it has been shown and any attempt to offer it’s bounty to an un-caring few must be resisted at all costs.

  4. Derick fae Yell says:

    Amusing piece. Sadly with limited connection with reality.
    Fish catches are stable. See Chart 1.3

  5. Derick fae Yell says:

    More than 300,000 boxes of whitefish – 16,306 tonnes – were landed in at quays in Lerwick and Scalloway, an increase of 8% on the previous year.

    A total of 60,149 tonnes of pelagic fish were brought ashore.

    The volume of shellfish landings fell in 2014, although their value increased to give a turnover of £3.9m.

    Turnover from whitefish was up 8% at £27.15m, while pelagic landings rose by 2% to £45.16m.

    The figures were compiled by Dr Ian Napier of the NAFC Marine Centre in Scalloway from UK Marine Management Organisation statistics.

    Brian Isbister, chief executive of Shetland Fish Producers’ Organisation, said many fish stocks were currently more abundant around Shetland than they had been for many years and their quality was very high.

    He added: “Skippers, some of whom have been at sea for 20-30 years, are catching more good quality fish than they ever have.

    1. Willie Beedie says:

      And all that with gear that has changed over the years allowing juvenile fish to escape, us fishermen have seen the changes, but the biggest damage to the sea has started to happen with the discard ban, juvenile fish being put in skips which would have survived being put back into the sea, all at the behest of so-called enviromental supporting public school boy chefs with media backing, how much of this is going to harm the creatures of the sea

  6. Douglas says:

    I’ve taken time to relay my dismay to Mr Jamie McGrigors actions over the last couple of weeks. I’ve asked him to show real vision and not to try and score a few votes with a small portion of the electorate……… I’ve not heard back!

    China and Japan came up against this problem of overfishing wild stocks of scallops and destruction of the sea bed through dredging in 1970/80s they showed true vision and with help from their leaders they now farm/ranch over 1 million tonnes of scallops per annum.

    We don’t harpoon basking sharks anymore but plenty of people make a living from taking people out in boats to see these creatures in their natural environment.

    Oyster farmer and sustainable creel fisherman for thirty years. Douglas

  7. Black Rab says:

    As a once keen angler and born in Banff, long gone are the days when fish were plentiful from the point of the pier and around the coast in Macduff. No fishing market in Macduff and The Macduff Arms long gone too. Dougie Blackwood is correct in saying that Scotland has handed over it’s fishing interests to Westminster for whatever negotiation may benefit it’s own interests.
    Just another sad outcome of a country with no say in it’s economy and development.

    1. Willie Beedie says:

      Well you can blame the UK government for places where boats can land their catches, also Scotland never handed over any powers to Westminster, to do that, they would have had to possess those rights, but unfortunately Westminster as the UK government were handed the rights bypassing any Scottish legislation,.

  8. Greg Bowie says:

    I was disgusted listening to the imbeciles being given their say on Radio Scotland this morning. ‘We need to keep raping the seas, as it provides jobs’. About as moribund an argument as keeping dirty great nuclear bombs on the clyde as it keeps a few chippys and the odd B&B open.

    The SNP have to grow a huge set of balls on this, and protect our ecology. Spend the trident money on a proper military empowered coastguard fleet to police it.

    It’s not so long ago the author of this fine piece and I were on a fishing trip off Girvan – the only charter rod fishing craft left on the Clyde I hasten to add – and I asked the skipper about his catches that year. He retorted that if he stuck to the wrecks that the trawlers dare not go near (for fear of losing their gear) then we would get a few fish, but not Cod as he hadn’t had a single Cod brought on board so far that year. This was in late summer.

    8 months rod fishing on the Clyde and not one Cod.

    1. Willie Beedie says:

      As for no cod in the Clyde, have you not thought of enviromental reasons for this, when the cod crisis started in the North sea, water temps had been climbing slightly year on year up until this point( On the west coast this was noted when fish farms were shouting temps over VHF radio EVERY morning, poss due to gulf stream warming), now the Grey sea north of Norway and Russia didnt have a cod fishing as such yet the year after cod was effectively banned from being caught in the North Sea, the Grey Sea boats were getting bumper catches the likes which hadnt been seen before, this has also been stated by scientists, during the sixties and seventies the bulk of the clyde based boats were ring netters for herring then the prawn fishery started, very seldom were cod targetted although they would have ended up in nets.
      Now since 2002 Scottish fishing vessels have been at the forefront of designs of trawl nets to lower the chances of catching fish while fishing for prawns, things like Square Mesh Release panels, lower headlines(How high the top of net opens on the sea bed) and larger mesh sizes to allow juvenile fish to escape to name three ways.

    2. colin says:

      It is not any better in the Forth, the only cod going are the red cod (rock cod) that have adapted to living in kelp so evade the attentions of commercial boats……All we are catching currently is the odd pollack, flatties and immature coal fish.

  9. Gusmcg says:

    ” the fishing industry has long escaped any meaningful scrutiny or control,”…………..mince.

  10. Neil Spiers says:

    Get a grip and look at the real reasons for the decline of fish in the Clyde SEALS every shore you look in the Clyde is black with them what do think they are eating????
    There has not been a single whitefish boat fishing the Clyde for over ten years all of them are prawn trawlers with tiny amounts of by catch.
    I don’t hear you’s shouting for a seal cull but you are desperate for a prawn fishermen cull !!

  11. Fiona MacInnes says:

    This is a mean spirited and dangerously misleading article. The current MPA debate in which I have been personally involved for at leas 4 years is highly complex as are all aspects of fishing, fisheries science and regulation. The accusations of bigged up sentimentality on the plight of fishermen are quite frankly insulting to anyone embedded in the fishing community. I have spent 27 years in close economic contact with the highly precarious means of making ends meet as the wife of a fisherman who has been buffeted from UK sellout to EU regulatory strangulation to Scottish Govt mismanagement for all of that time.
    The MPA debate is not about lack or not of fish stocks, it is about a list of protected features, animals plants and habitat that are deemed in need of protections of different levels. Years of careful cross stakeholder consultation has taken place to arrive at workable co-operative management measures which the scottish gvts own advisers agreed. Richard Lochhead and the SNP are tragically wrong on the direction they have taken in overreaching the agreed consensus on MPA fisheries management. Well funded agenda driven NGOs are the new neo cons of the sea’s resources. Its time the apologists misguidedly supporting this vindictive adventure woke up to what is truly going on in some darker big business funded corners of the of the Green lobby.
    Fishermen are not making a fortune – that is the myth this writer so wrongly attempts to perpetrate. And least of all the inshore fleets impacted by these measures. The fishermen’s mssion are keeping many families in fishing communities off the bread line and this I report as fact. Shame on the SNP.

    1. james gourlay says:

      How can a few percent of Marine Protected Areas make such a big difference to the fishermen’s livelihood? These areas are set up to regenerate the stocks which have been depleted by overfishing. To suggest that the fishermen can continue as they have done with very few restrictions is madness.
      This is backed by a Tory MSP – just another attempt to screw the Scottish people on Westminster’s briefing.

      1. Willie Beedie says:

        By creating MPAs and SACs, safe winter fishing grounds are being closed to trawlers while being exploited by creel fishermen (which if left unchecked can devastate prawn stocks due to those creels fishing 23 hours a day 7 days a week on the same grounds , at least trawlers move about and dont over fish an area (look at what has happened to prawn sizes in the closed are in the creel only area between the island of Raasay to Red Point near Gairloch south to the Skye Bridge which is closed to trawlers for the bulk of the year, Marine Stewardship Certificates(MSC on seafood sold in stores) were lost as prawn sizes shrunk and numbers are down, yet this style of fishing is going to be allowed to carry on for the forseeable future.
        This is not about over fishing, this is about NGOs supported by the likes of the Esme Fairbairn Foundation with millions of pounds of backing, Esme Fairbairn Foundation funds Enviromental causes and is US based, PEW and others have all funded the likes of COAST and the Scottish Creel Fishermens Federation(Who claim to hve the support of all creel fishermen, but lots are leaving in droves due to attitudes to mobile fishermen)
        The only unrestricted fishermen left in the UK are creelers, every other sector has days at sea, quotas area closures and gear modifications yet creels are tens of thousands in numbers, very small mess sizes and suffer no quotas so all your claims are shot down in flames, and by the way, am an SNP member who is also a fisherman, but am thinking of leaving the party I have voted for for the past 22 years due to the cavalier attitudes of Richard Lochhead and RACCE like many other fishermen have

  12. David Shaw says:

    I’ve read some rubbish in my time but this takes the biscuit. E.g. “the fishing industry has long escaped any meaningful scrutiny or control” try telling that to Europe. Scottish waters are heavily policed and we play the game, unlike many of our European cousins.

    The article does, however, contain some truths, the changes to the 3 mile limit and the advent of pair trawling, in my opinion, did make matters worse.

    Anglers and divers are not going to be the saviours – I liken them to cyclists who have all the privileges of other road users without paying the taxes and insurances and seem to have special permission to drive through red traffic lights. They can say what they like – there weren’t that many fish in the 1970s never mind 2016

    The CFA are not the bogeymen – look to foreign invaders, dodgy fish buyers and European Fisheries Policies. Signed a former Fisherman, Fisheries Officer, Fish Farmer and Fisheries Journalist who was brought up on the Clyde.

    1. Tam says:

      The Green Lobby, seals, and now cyclists. Every debate on Scotland’s natural environment brings out the ranting deniers – ‘Fisherfolk’ and ‘Countryfolk’, parading their prejudices and claiming their ‘traditional’ entitlement.

  13. John Craig says:

    My near neighbour, a retired west coast fisherman, summed it up quite nicely with “Spurdog, they only lasted a year”.

  14. Johnmacdougall says:

    The MPA’s are to protect vulnerable habitats which all Clyde fishermen supported and agreed with the Governments advisors Scottish National Heritage who decided after scientific research the areas to be protected, in all the public meetings I attended over the years of consultation did I hear any disagreement with the SNH advice or with the areas mapped in the consultation process SNH identified as vulnerable.
    The matter of fin fish of any description was not mentioned in the consultation process on MPA’s by either Marine Scotland or Scottish National Heritage as it was outwith the remit of either body, the remit specified certain species and features like maeral beds, horse mussels and ocean quahogs etc to be protected which the Clydes Fishermen fully agreed with.
    So I can not understand the reasoning behind the article than other as propaganda fiction from another vested interest group who has no understanding of how the Scottish Fishing Industry are European leaders in Cod avoidance and eliminating unwanted by-catch by using highly selective fishing nets as used by the trawlers in the Clyde

  15. John Page says:

    Good for you Bella for publishing this helpful piece.
    Despite the obvious unhappiness from vested interests (Jackie Baillie playing the Trident jobs card and Mr McGrigor’s recent foray into somewhat ambivalent populism) Scotland is changing. To take matters further we need to return an SNP govt with a substantial number of Green critical friends in 2016 and we need to remove the sclerotic Labour administration from St George’s Square (time for it to be called Mary Barbour Square?)
    The current change is massive. Take heart, we can be better a better nation and we will.
    John Page

  16. Wul says:

    Well, as an uninformed reader I am left confused by arguments for & against a Protection Area. Both sides can’t be right.

  17. C Rober says:

    Again like many , drapped a line fae a pier in ma youth , occasional fae a boat mostly on the Clyde with the occasional blood donation for clegs on the freshwater lochs.

    As for data , I dont ever believe what I read , and that includes Uk or Scots Govt. No one notice that the science station on Cumbrae is to close , or perhaps already has , I am not current , and how many others have now closed ?

    Early 70s , even then as I fished people of advanced age were telling me of yore fish , but not many did actually mention pier or lind caught cod , mostly macks , and some foul hooks of mullet , with better stories from those that had done the salt lochs on boats. Back then in my youthful days I didnt eat my catch , but the local Chinese would buy nearly anything , including eel and crab from me and others.

    One other thing I remember was the true abundance of the lieks of mussel , clappy , and whelks as big as my thumb where the whole close would be knocking on the door with an empty pot to be filled frgom a bath of salty water purging a catch. But today , not so much , even the few places that still sell these in Scotland is rare , and their sizes on offer are questionable.

    Back then though the Clyde was still industrial , foul with untreated sewerage and inland industry. Ships were being still being built , fishing boats rotting away on shores and forgotten harbours , where digging for bait even was enough to realise this too was declining.

    Pre Steel furnaces , pre mining , pre shipyards , the Clyde was a mainstay employer of exports and fishing , wool , salted fish and meat etc to the world. Even back to iron age it has been discovered that fishing was on the Clyde , with recorded settlements in Greenock right down to what is now known as Seamill , and with that some form of trade as far as Norway with the Vikings , some of whom settled.

    Today we have all parties involved in making money , telling us one story.

    Those that could well be its keepers , the hobbyist , giving us another.

    But we already have history to warn us of over use , and the decline of empolyemnt on the Clyde , the collapse of the herring industry . We should heed its warning , and declare the whole inshore water system free from trade fishing. Why do I think so , please read on.

    Today all around the world we are telling other countries to stop over fishing , pollution , deforestation , all which affects local fishing , yet the non emerging economies continue to disregard the same.

    Fishing in Scotland , trade , is all about exports , just the same as the emerging countries I spoke about above.

    Hell , even cleaning and shelling is now an export to China. Then some is imported back in , but most of that original catch , either fish or shellfish , that the Scots and British dont have a hankering for is exported. Spain for example , France , just cannot get enough of our Scallops , mussels , Langoustines and so on , so much so it is not unusal to see Foreign trawlers on the Clyde daily.

    With this decline of the ports , harbours etc , we have a chance to redress this , through taxation of fish exported that is returned in order to reseed the Clyde , with a goal to managed fishing … eventually.

    Those empty harbours around the Uk , that once held large fleets , would be ideal for new seeding factories , and with that comes employment.

    Freshwater fishing clubs around the world do something similar , so why not have big industry , combine with hobbyfishing , and support each other?

    But for that we need to think generationally , just like banks do , where an ideal result may not even be seen in the lifetime of the youngest person employed in any new seeding industry before they retire. After all it took era to get fish to the levels per industrial fishing , can man therefore use a new industrial effort to redress a previous industrial effort?

    Here is the good part , the fishing fleets long in decline then become the tractors of the sea , sewing the seeds where its needed and wanted , outwith the protected inshore area , in northern fishing grounds instead.

    Not long now until another cod war methinks.

    1. Wul says:

      I’m struck by your comment about the Big Banks & Corporations thinking generationally, something our governments see unable to do. If our politicians continue to think only 3-4 years ahead, they are like kittens chasing a torch beam, going wherever Big Money points them.

      We, as citizens need to mature and take a much longer term view. We need to shed our own short-term self interest (“Scots will be £1,800/yr worse off under Indy!”) and make the effort to envision the country our grandweans will live in. This is not an easy thing to do and not an easy shift to make. It feels like a huge gamble to most.

      I’m not sure how you create a better informed, generational-minded citizenry. A good, independant media would be essential. One of my own “lightbulb” moments was realising just how richly endowed Scotland is and how poor and downtrodden its people are.
      At some point we would need to tell Big Business; “This is our country and WE make the rules”. This would require a government backed by a people who were prepared to take the risk that things could get a bit hairy for a while. This would take trust. Trust in each other and trust that we actually DO have enough to live on. Trust somehow seems to be at the bottom of this.

      1. John Craig says:

        although it’s a bit at odds with the matter in hand, you are spot on with your observations on what risk we would be required to take if we were independent. The existing nationalist movement consistently avoids mention of that point. I personally have never doubted out ability to prosper, but it would be “generational” and all we are getting at this time is squealing about “austerity” and pensioners frightened of losing their pensions. I wonder what the political situation would be if we were told that we would all be down by four or five grand a year for quite some time.
        Any fledgling economy will require backing; are there any moves afoot at this time to access the world’s monetary systems for that backing. Are there any moves afoot to avoid the Sterling fiasco by Scotland floating it’s own currency. If there are, they must be being done in secret. Time for a bit of action on these fronts or at least a bit of transparency.

  18. Greg bowie says:

    Anglers and divers are not going to be the saviours – I liken them to cyclists who have all the privileges of other road users without paying the taxes and insurances and seem to have special permission to drive through red traffic lights.’

    Whilst I wholeheartedly agree that cyclists that jump red lights should be dealt with, there is no such thing as road tax, it is now called vehicle excise duty, and quite a lot of modern cars don’t pay it either. And I along with many of my cycling companions do have insurance, mainly due to the amount of bad driving witnessed daily, whilst on my bike, or in my car. You are not alone however, your view is shared by a lot of people, all of whom read the Daily Mail.

    Anyway, I digress. The excuses for the lack of cod never fails to amaze, it reminds me very much of an upland gamekeeper claiming that the reason most of us have never seen a hen harrier is because they are difficult to track due to long migration periods, multiple breeding grounds etc. Not illegal poisoning, shooting and other follies of the rich.

    Let’s just leave the seas to the fisherman, and the upland moors to the gamekeeper, and see how we get on with these fine custodians.

    I’d raither leave King Herod in charge o’ the bairns.

    1. David Shaw says:

      Greg I am aware of the toad tax situation. I meant, of course, insurance and you have addressed this issue. As a motorcyclist you would never get me on a push bike – too many crazy car drivers about. Apologies for being unclear. With regard to divers and hobbyists not being saviours of the Clyde fishery I make no apologies. Yes greed killed the fishery, but you need to ask who created the market by buying the fish? Who paid for this via wads cash in brown envelopes? Who in officialdom accepted some of these brown envelopes and turned a blind eye to illegal fishing?

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