FISHING INDUSTRY FACING CRISIS AS SALES COLLAPSE

Na h-Eileanan an Iar SNP MSP Alasdair Allan has raised the case for financial assistance to be extended to vessels over 12m and seafood processing plants with Cabinet Secretary for Rural Economy Fergus Ewing MSP.

The islands MSP has contacted seafood processing plants in the Western Isles to better understand the immediate crisis which the industry is facing following the collapse of UK and European markets in the midst of the Coronavirus crisis. Businesses have reported that vessels may have to stop landing by the end of next week. In light of the acute cash-flow challenges created by a drop in sales of upwards of 80%, the industry risks large-scale redundancies if government support is not forthcoming.

Alasdair Allan MSP commented:

“It is critical that the range of support for the fishing industry covers everyone affected.

“I have been in close contact with seafood plants and the Western Isles Fisherman’s Association who have made it abundantly clear that without intervention, there will not be an industry within weeks. The support package offered to vessels under 12 metres should in my view be extended to vessels over 12 metres, such as scallop trawlers, and similar financial support be offered to seafood processing plants.

“Direct support to vessels should directly reflect the number of crew each vessel employs and there must be an assurance that any support given is passed on to crew members fairly.”

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