Shetland Fishermen’s Association has recruited a policy advisor to help promote the local industry across Europe and highlight its importance to the community.
María Aira Martín, a former trainee fisheries official with the European Council of Ministers, will build on key work the association has been doing to make its voice heard in the corridors of power in Brussels, London and Edinburgh.
She comes from the fishing community of A Coruña in Galicia, Spain, and worked as a journalist and then for the industry in her native country before she moved to Brussels.
“I know from my time working in the fishing industry in Spain just how important it is for the economy,” she said.
“But there’s something that goes beyond the facts and figures. I feel it is also part of the identity of the community and that has been confirmed in the short time I have been in Shetland.
“The industry here has a responsible approach to sustainability, there are fantastic quality stocks and everybody works well together.”
She added: “But it faces significant challenges, e.g. from the discard ban, and dealing with that and the different layers Shetland has to deal with – Scotland, the UK and the EU – convinced me to move here to try to do something meaningful.”
SFA executive officer Simon Collins said: “We’re delighted that Maria has joined the team and are sure that her ability, connections and insight will help lift Shetland’s profile in the right places, and especially in Europe.”