A song protesting plans by the Scottish government to introduce Highly Protected Marine Areas (HPMAs) has been released by well-known Scottish band Skipinnish.

Skipinnish has teamed up with 64-year-old inshore fisherman Donald Francis ‘DF’ MacNeil, who makes his recording debut with the song The Clearances Again.

Penned by band co-founder and fisherman Angus MacPhail, the song aims to ‘stand against the plans and give voice to the thousands of people and numerous groups across Scotland that have spoken out strongly against the government’s proposals’.

The public consultation on HPMAs closed on 17 April, and Angus MacPhail says he wrote the song fearing that their introduction would cause ‘economic, social and cultural devastation.’

It is written from the perspective of his good friend DF MacNeil from Vatersay in the Western Isles. A lifelong fisherman, DF has fished around Mingulay and the islands to the south of Barra his whole life – an area ‘potentially a prime target for closing down’.

Angus MacPhail, who is originally from Tiree but now fishes out of Barra, said: “These proposals cannot be allowed to go ahead. They must be opposed and sunk. They pose the biggest peacetime risk to our communities since the Highland Clearances, and give zero regard to the effective local management of these waters.

“As DF sings at the end of The Clearances Again, ‘My song marks a fight for survival/A Mayday call we cry/We will stand for the rights of our children/We will not let our islands die’. This is a strong clarion call to everyone that holds the future of these communities dear.”

DF MacNeil said: “Fishing has been my whole life. It supports my family and many in the community I have lived in since I was born. I know every reef, skerry and sandbank around these shores, better than any who are pushing these devastating proposals on us.

“For the sake of my children and those who will come after us, I will do everything I can to stand against these ill-conceived and badly planned proposals.”

The Clearances Again is available to download on all major streaming platforms. The song will be performed live by Skipinnish for the first time at the band’s Aberdeen Music Hall concert on 12 May, coinciding with the Scottish Skipper Expo in the city.

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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