The Scottish Whitefish Producers Organisation (SWFPA) has said that their members need the Scottish Government’s help to get through the impacts of COVID-19.
SWFPA, who are the largest fisheries association in Europe, are seeing it’s members having to tie-up their fishing boats. Like other fishers around the coast of the UK, going to sea is no longer viable as markets for fish have collapsed at home and abroad in places like France. With 70% of fish caught in Scottish water leaving for the continent, the closure of these markets have serious consequences for boat owners and crews alike.
Many boat owners still have loan payments to make to banks and they have other bills such as harbour fees to pay when their boats are tied-up along the pier. Others are carrying over losses from their last fishing trips as fish prices took a huge drop whilst they were at sea.
With no definitive end in sight for the COVID-19 epidemic and the numbers of people taken ill by the virus increasing everyday, the long-term outlook for the fishing industry is bleak and a return to normal fishing is away over the horizon.
In a tweet this morning the SWPFA said “Some of our members are now tying to the quayside through lack of sales on the continent. Like other impacted business around the UK, they will need some form of support, as will the onshore sector. Scottish Government looking to open up discussions very soon.”