Shetland MSP and Scottish Liberal Democrat Beatrice Wishart has pressed the Cabinet Secretary for the Islands to review the consultation process for offshore wind development West of Shetland. The area, in rich fishing grounds, is earmarked for the development of offshore wind, to provide electricity for oil and gas installations.
Shetland Fishermen’s Association has raised concerns, pointing to flaws in the consultation process. Ms Wishart asked that the Scottish Government commit to gathering and fully assessing data on all fishing activity from the area.
Last month Ms Wishart raised the concerns of fishermen that North Sea cod is in abundance while data gathered by the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) indicated fewer cod. She also highlighted the view of local fishermen that they are unfairly targeted by fisheries protection vessels compared to those from non-UK countries. Ms Wishart also encouraged the consideration of holding at least one round of Coastal States talks in Shetland, the heart of Scotland’s richest fishing grounds.
After the session Ms Wishart said:
“There are serious concerns in the fleet at the moment. This has been a hard time for vessels, with Covid, Brexit and the impact of the climate emergency.
“I am pleased to have had a positive response from the Cabinet Secretary today, who stated she was willing to engage and listen to fishermen’s concerns directly.
“I will keep pressing the Scottish Government to ensure that it does listen to the fishing sector.”
Notes to Editors
Ms Wishart’s question to the minister (please check against delivery):
There are plans to locate offshore wind farms in rich fishing grounds West of Shetland to provide electricity for oil and gas installations.
Shetland Fishermen’s Association has highlighted flaws in the offshore wind farm consultation process. Can the Scottish Government commit to gathering and fully assessing data on all fishing activity from these areas, and listen to local fishermen’s concerns?
You can watch Ms Wishart’s question here.