Pictured at the SFF ‘Pride in the Seas Exhibition on the Scottish fishing industry, left to right: Elena-Balestri, Steve-Mackinson, Elspeth-Macdonald, Gillian Martin, Erin-Mackenzie and Paul-Macdonald

The ‘Pride in the Seas’ exhibition, organised by the SFF at the Scottish Parliament has inspired politicians to pledge support to the fishing industry. Image: SFF

‘Pride in the Seas’ Exhibition held over three days at Scottish Parliament

Politicians from various political parties have joined forces in pledging their commitment to safeguarding Scotland’s fishing industry and coastal communities, as a major exhibition took centre stage at the Scottish Parliament.

Over 50 Members of the Scottish Parliament (MSPs), including three party leaders, have lent their support to a pledge aimed at protecting and supporting Scotland’s vital fishing industry. Notable signatories include Anas Sarwar of Labour, Alex Cole-Hamilton of the Liberal Democrats, and Douglas Ross of the Conservatives.

The exhibition, titled “Pride in the Seas,” was organised by the Scottish Fishermen’s Federation (SFF) in collaboration with renowned photographer Ian Georgeson. It showcased portraits and stories of individuals involved in various aspects of the fishing industry, highlighting their contributions to Scotland’s economy and culture.

Mairi Gougeon, Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs, Land Reform and Islands, hailed the exhibition as a testament to Scotland’s fishing industry. She said:

““The spirit and vitality of our fishing industry and coastal communities is something of which we should all be rightly proud, and which is powerfully captured by this exhibition.

“The Scottish fishing industry is world renowned and remains at the forefront of sustainable fishing practices. It helps support many jobs around the country and is embedded in our culture.

Pictured at the SFF ‘Pride in the Seas Exhibition on the Scottish fishing industry, left to right: Elena-Balestri, Steve-Mackinson, Elspeth-Macdonald, Gillian Martin, Erin-Mackenzie and Paul-Macdonald

Pictured at the SFF ‘Pride in the Seas Exhibition on the Scottish fishing industry, left to right: Elena Balestri, Steve Mackinson, Elspeth Macdonald, Gillian Martin, Erin Mackenzie and Paul Macdonald

“The Scottish Government shares the Scottish Fishermen’s Federation’s vision of a fishing industry that endures and thrives.

“Through robust evidence and marine planning, we will continue to work with all sectors to manage the increased competition for our shared marine space, supporting commitments to net zero, protection of the marine environment, energy security, food security, and thriving communities.”

The pledge signed by politicians underscores the importance of enhanced support for fishing communities, food security, and sustainable fishing practices. It also emphasises the need to protect access to key fishing grounds and acknowledges the sector’s role in producing low-carbon, healthy food.

Elspeth Macdonald, Chief Executive of the SFF, expressed gratitude for the overwhelming support received from MSPs and highlighted the critical role of the fishing industry in food security and achieving net-zero emissions. She said:

“It has been heartening to see so many MSPs and their teams engage very positively with us over the last few days.

“Given Scotland’s geography, many have coastal fishing communities within their constituencies and know first hand of the pressures that they – and the industry as a whole – has been under in recent years. It was great also to have MSPs from more urban and inland parts of Scotland recognise the importance of our sector, and to give us their support.

“Fishing has a vital role in food security and the country’s net zero aspirations – and the provision of sustainably sourced and low-carbon protein has never been more vital.

“This exhibition taps into the inherent pride and responsibility that those working in fishing feel and whilst there will always be things we can improve on, it is characterised by responsible, innovative businesses seeking to improve conditions for the next generation.”

Following its debut at the Scottish Parliament, the exhibition will embark on a tour across various public venues, including towns, schools, and museums, to raise awareness about the fishing industry’s significance.

Established in response to the UK’s entry into the EU, the Scottish Fishermen’s Federation has been advocating for a sustainable and prosperous fishing industry for over 50 years. Representing 450 fishing vessels across Scotland, the federation plays a pivotal role in ensuring the sector’s voice is heard in policy discussions.

The exhibition also features case studies highlighting the diverse roles within the fishing industry, from skippers and deckhands to scientists and analysts, showcasing the sector’s rich tapestry and contributions to Scotland’s maritime heritage.

The full exhibition and case studies are available for viewing on the SFF website, providing an opportunity for the public to learn more about Scotland’s fishing industry and the individuals behind it.

 

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