Peterhead Fish Market faces a landing boycott by fishing vessels over rule changes for fish buyers which will see the end to bid-sharing practices. Photo: PPA
Peterhead Fish Market could be facing a boycott by Scottish fishing vessels on Wednesdays over new rules introduced by Peterhead Port Authority which affects fish buyers.
At the end of December 2022, Peterhead Port Authority told fish buyers they would be bringing to an end the practice of bid-sharing as of Wednesday 01 February 2023.
The Authority told fish buyers that the decision was made after taking legal advice which confirmed the practice to be “anti-competitive and contrary to applicable competition law” citing “complaints about certain buying practices” being the root cause.
The letter continues saying, “The measure, which have the support of the fishselling agents, are intended to ensure therefore that in the interests of all stakeholders the sales process at the Fish Market is conducted in a compliant manner”.
Simon G Brebner, Chief Executive of the Peterhead Port Authority wrote:
“I am aware there has been speculation in recent weeks about measures which PPA are to introduce to regulate buying / selling practices at our Fish Market and in particular bid-sharing practices.
“After receipt of specialist legal advice, discussion with the fish selling agents and detailed consideration, our Board has decided to proceed with the implementation of such measures and enclosed is a Direction document made under our Bye-Laws setting out the measures that will apply.”
The news from the Chief Executive of the PPA caused consternation amongst fish buyers to call on the fishing industry to boycott landing at Peterhead Fish Market. In a message to boat owners, they said:
“In light of news received regarding the potential withdrawal of buying power at Peterhead Port, I will be advising vessels to avoid landing to auction on Wednesday markets for the foreseeable.
“Any vessel with Wednesday as target landing day will be advised to land on alternative markets.”
One skipper backing the boycott told The Fishing Daily, “I’m fully behind the fish buyers. The current system worked fine for many years and without the fish buyers there is no fishing industry. I strongly urge PPA to think again.”