Thursday, 19 September 2013

Snippets from the latest FAL Newsletter

The Autumn Newsletter of the Fishermen's Association Limited (FAL) is out and we thought our readers would like to see some snippets from it.

First off, there is an article by the Chairman about the discards in the West of Scotland Demersal fisheries, which strangely echo the arguments made by Icelanders and Faroese in their fierce debates with the EU (here, here, here, here and here):

It is difficult not to be dismayed at the continuing demands of the Commission for more fishing restrictions on West of Scotland fish stocks especially as skippers who fish the grounds have seen more fish these past 2 years than at any time since 2001.

When I retired the deep water fleet or “edge of shelf “fleet stood at 37 vessels. This has now reduced to 8 who spend most of the year in Area VIa / VIb.

This year alone we have seen 4 vessels leave the fleet who traditionally fished West of 4 grounds.

This is why we have been advocating that instead of supporting the EU's bullying, Britain's and Scotland's fishermen should take the side of the Icelanders and the Faroese and negotiate some agreement with them. Ah, but they cannot, not while we are in the CFP. Norway can negotiate, Iceland and Russia can negotiate, Denmark on behalf of the Faroe Islands can negotiate but Britain? We shall have the EU negotiating on our behalf should they be inclined to do so.

On the Scrap and Build policy we have this:

Over the years FAL has argued for a vessel scrap and build policy. In June 2010 Richard Lochhead was informed by Sandy Patience that: “In the past one saved to build up the business – either by re-engining and proper care and maintenance or new building. However there are so many other demands now—buying of fish or shellfish or leasing quota and days plus buying of licence parking to obtain more days that nothing is being set aside for reinvestment.

Had a scrap and build scheme been introduced this would have encouraged the young men left in the industry to look forward with hope not despair.”

Regrettably this was never promoted by Marine Scotland.

On 10 July 2013 at a meeting of the EU Parliament Fisheries Committee, Alain Cadec MEP, Rapporteur on the EMFF proposals emphasised that ‘the money for fleet renewal (vessel construction) would only be available for a part of the fishing fleet — replacing vessels older than 35 years, smaller than 12 metres, with an obligation to reduce the vessel’s capacity by 40 percent.’

Mr Cadec stated that “his is responsible fleet renewal. Furthermore, you may only receive money to replace your engine if you reduce capacity. These are the only real measures in the EMFF and the basic regulation in the fisheries reform to reduce capacity in the EU fishing fleet.”

Unfortunately that fleet renewal proposal is not a scrap and build policy. In any event if passed in Parliament’s Plenary session in October (See page 14 CFP Reform Watch Article) it will do little, if anything, for the Scottish whitefish/prawn fleets but may assist some of the owners of very old boats in the Scottish/UK fleet.

The SNP has been making noises about an independent Scotland (within the EU, which is something of an oxymoron) being able to sort out the mess that Edward Heath's government had imposed on Scottish (and other) fishermen. They have not yet specified how they will do it.

In the SPRING 2013 NEWSLETTER we asked the following question:

In view of the condemnation by both politicians of the CFP and their call for restoration of national control would they care to explain how they are going to ensure the livelihoods of the Scottish fishing industry both offshore and onshore and the communities they support IF the Scottish people vote for independence and the SNP subsequently achieves its overwhelming ambition to become a member State of the EU?

We still await a reply. Perhaps we will obtain that when FAL meets Mr Lochhead on 31 October.

As soon as we have an answer it will be published on this blog.

Let us finish on a more cheerful note, to with the recipe in this edition of the Newsletter, for Mussles au Gratin (nothing wrong with European cooking, after all):


455g (1lb) vacuumpacked mussels in garlic butter sauce 55g (2oz) parsley, chopped 2 cloves garlic, crushed 6 x 15ml spoon (6 tablespoons) breadcrumbs 6 x 15ml spoon (6 tablespoons) pecorino or Parmesan cheese, grated grated rind 1 lime and juice of half a lime salt and freshly ground black pepper 6 x 15ml spoon (6 tablespoons) olive oil 1 lemon and 1 lime to garnish


Mix together parsley, garlic, breadcrumbs, cheese,grated rind and lime juice. Season and mix with theolive oil. Blend thoroughly.

Split cooked mussels in half and discard the empty shells. Spread mussels in half shells with the breadcrumb mixture and arrange in a shallow ovenproof dish.

Bake for approximately 15-20 minutes until lightly browned.

Serve garnished with lemon and lime wedges.

Bon Appétit! Buon Appetito! Guten Appetit! And in Icelandic: Verði þér að góðu!