Shetland MSP Beatrice Wishart has sought assurances from the Scottish Government that the fishing industry will be fully involved in discussions regarding offshore wind farms, following concerns about proposed developments near Shetland.
Speaking virtually in Holyrood Ms Wishart said:
“Parts of the fishing industry are frustrated that fisheries organisations are not being approached about proposed sites for offshore wind farm development. The fishing industry isn’t against renewable energy but it needs to be included early in discussions. Fishermen with historic ties to fishing grounds know the seabed and can help with offshore windfarm location in appropriate areas.
“What assurances can the Cabinet Secretary give that there won’t be a negative impact on the seabed and spawning stocks by these developments, and does the Scottish Government recognise fishing industry concerns?”
In response, Rural Affairs Minister Mairi Gougeon said she takes the concerns “seriously” and that government is looking at ways to “continuously improve engagement and communication” between the fishing industry and the renewables sector.
Commenting afterwards, Ms Wishart said:
“I’m glad that the Minister recognises the importance of the issue and I welcome moves to ensure the fishing industry is involved in all stages of proposed offshore windfarm developments. Offshore turbines have the potential to seriously disrupt fishing grounds if placed in inappropriate areas. That must be avoided through early dialogue.
“Renewable energy is important for our future energy needs but government and developers must ensure they take into account impacts on local communities and industries.”