Shetland Fishermen’s Association members delivered a major vote of confidence in the isles’ shellfish management group at a meeting last night.
A large gathering of small boat members was emphatic in its support of the board of the Shetland Shellfish Management Organisation (SSMO), which had been subject to undue criticism in recent months for its management of Shetland’s shellfish fisheries.
SSMO manages the inshore fishery and its success in 2012 of securing a world first of Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) status for scallops, brown crab and velvet crab affirmed Shetland’s reputation for good practice.
SFA executive officer Simon Collins said: “Our members were emphatically supportive of the good work being done by the SSMO, both in the past and in the present.
“There will always be issues in this type of fisheries management, but the message is loud and clear: the SSMO has the firm backing of our members who are working day in, day out in the inshore sector.
“Last night’s meeting has well and truly scotched the myth that any other view is representative of the feelings of fishermen.”
SFA chairman Leslie Tait added: “Last night’s meeting reaffirmed the SFA’s role in ensuring that we support the SSMO in delivering for the needs of Shetland’s substantial inshore shellfish fishery.
“The high turnout of members present, and support expressed outside the meeting by those members unable to attend, tells us that there is as much need today for this important local regulation as there was when the SFA pressed for the formation of the regulating order back in the 1990s.”