Scottish Fisheries Minister, Mairi Gougeon, says the Scottish Government is looking for Westminster’s intervention on fuel cost crisis
The Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs and the Islands, Mairi Gougeon, has told Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party MSP. Murdo Fraser, that the Scottish government is actively engaging and pressing for further supports for all industries including Scotland.
The Mid Scotland and Fife, MSP has written to the Minster asking what Government supports it was giving to the inshore scallop fishers to help address the rising cost of fuel.
Minister Gougeon replied:
“The Scottish Government is very much aware of the pressures high fuel costs are placing on inshore scallop fishers and the fishing industry in general. Although the fishing industry benefits from red diesel relief, fuel remains a major part of fishing business costs, no more so than in the scallop sector.
“The Scottish Government has a strong track record of supporting the scallop sector, including targeted action through the impacts of Covid. Through our Modernisation of the Inshore Fishing Fleet Programme, we are also funding installation of remote electronic monitoring (REM) equipment for all scallop dredge vessels. Supported by the industry, this will help enhance the inshore fisheries evidence base, improve compliance, and enable better interaction between the fishing industry and other marine users. Consumers and retailers seek confidence and accountability in our seafood products, and REM helps to satisfy this demand and deliver associated market benefits. In addition, looking to the longer term we continue to work with the industry and support research into reducing fishing vessel reliance on diesel.
“The powers to offer financial support to the fishing industry on the scale required to deal with the high cost of fuel rests with Westminster. We have regularly urged the UK Government to use all the levers at its disposal to tackle the cost crisis for business and provide the necessary support, including to the seafood sector. We are doing all we can to support business and the economy at this time. However, with a fixed budget, and little scope to borrow to deal with such short-term challenges, our hands are tied. We are however continuing to actively engage with the UK Government, and press for further support for all industries.”