The Shetland Fishermen’s Association (SFA) is asking candidates in Shetland’s upcoming council elections to sign a pledge to signal support for the local industry, reports Paul Scott.

It is inviting all 35 candidates standing for election next month to sign what it is calling a ‘FISH Pledge’, to signal their support for Shetland’s fishing fleet and ‘recognise the industry’s importance to the isles’.

SFA executive officer Daniel Lawson said: “Shetland has done well to keep a modern, family-owned fleet at the heart of our island economy. With an average crew age of 38 years old, fishing supports families, households and other businesses all over the isles – to the benefit of us all.”

The SFA says that Shetland’s fishing fleet directly employs more than 450 people, and ‘fish catching is worth at least £138m to the local economy every year – with additional economic benefits spread through families, communities, support sectors and Shetland’s wider supply chain’.

It says that locally owned vessels are being ‘increasingly recognised for their environmental credentials, with a progressively fuel-efficient fleet providing wild-caught seafood at a lower carbon cost than nearly all other sources of protein’.

“Our whole community should be proud of its fishing crews, and all council candidates should take this chance to publicly show that support – and help secure fishing’s future potential,” said Daniel Lawson.

The SFA says that by signing the pledge, candidates will be showing their support for the industry and backing the ‘broad aims and ambitions shared by local crews’.

It says these include improving support for fishing science, net-zero ambitions, innovation and development, and safeguarding Shetland’s ‘sustainable and climate-smart fishery for the good of generations to come’.

The FISH Pledge also recognises the ‘community, environmental, nutritional and cultural benefits of fishing’.

The SFA says that it will publicise signatories of the pledge across its social media channels.

The election takes place on 5 May. A full list of those standing in Shetland can be found here.

This story was taken from the latest issue of Fishing News. For more up-to-date and in-depth reports on the UK and Irish commercial fishing sector, subscribe to Fishing News here or buy the latest single issue for just £3.30 here


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