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28 March 2014

"The Fair Isle Demonstration and Research MPA proposal was put on hold by Marine Scotland in 2013 so that they could devote the year to consultation and further evidence gathering for the Nature Conservation MPAs. However, it is now in the process of assessing the Fair Isle proposal with a timetable of the first half of 2014.

In the meantime, the Fair Isle community has begun the process of engaging with the various Scottish fishermen’s associations named by Marine Scotland as main stakeholders of the Fair Isle marine resource.

The community has developed an outline plan which seeks to involve the fishermen in the process. The basis of the plan is not to exclude the fishermen but to steer them towards management measures which address the issue of sustainability and recovery of the resource. The isle believes that such measures would have long-term benefits for all stakeholders, including the fishermen.

To this end, the Fair Isle community Chair, Fiona Mitchell, issued invitations to the Shetland Fishermen’s Association (SFA) and to the Scottish Fishermen’s Federation (SFF) which acts as the umbrella organisation for the various Scottish fishing groups.

As both the resource and the community are located at Fair Isle, the invitation was for discussions to be held on the isle. Both organisations accepted and Kenny Coull of the SFF and Leslie Tait and Simon Collins of the SFA attended a stakeholders meeting in the Fair Isle Bird Observatory Visitor Centre on Monday 24th March.

The isle was very pleased they made the effort to come and equally pleased with the positive attitude they brought with them. The meeting comprised a short presentation follow by discussion.

The presentation outlined the MPA objectives, means of achieving them and the rationale behind the community’s aspirations. It finished with an invitation to get involved. The fishing industry could get a lot of good publicity and public approval by working with the isle as well as demonstrating forward thinking.

The SFF and SFA representatives’ input to the meeting was extremely useful, with a series of suggestions of how they felt we could approach the issue. For the isle it was a first step in the process of working with them, with the prospect of further cooperation between the parties."

Nick Riddiford , FIMETI co-ordinator.

(Text from FIMETI Newsletter no 11, April 2014)

Monday, 24th March 2014.

Stakeholders' meeting from an Islander's perspective:

"A fine bright day with light SE winds so no problems for the plane - an important day for us on Fair Isle because, at last, we have managed to get members of the fishing community to the Isle to discuss our petition for the Research and Demonstration MPA.

First there was a presentation at Fair Isle Bird Observatory's Visitor Centre which was very well attended with representation from nearly every house.

Nick Riddiford (our FIMETI co-ordinator) went over what the Fair Isle community is seeking and why in a very precise but non-antagonistic manner, letting the fishermen's representatives understand that we want this to be a joint effort and that their input would be an important part of the proposal which could be jointly beneficial to all.

There then followed an open discussion where alot of the islanders spoke showing our concerns and the fact that we are 100% together on this very important issue.

This was followed by a very nice lunch at Skerryholm where the conversation was mostly about the sea and its power but we tended not to talk business and to keep things on a social level.

After lunch I showed the delegates around the museum which seemed to impress them very much, especially Kenny Coull, of the Scottish Fishermen's Federation. He was interested in most aspects of our culture and it was a pleasure to be able to take him through the displays.

At the end of the day I can't say how much further ahead we are but I did get the impression that they would think about the proposal and that is a very important first step."

Stewart Thomson, FIMETI working group member.

(Acknowledgement to the Fair Isle Times, 28/3/14.)

18th March, 2014


Fair Isle is very pleased to announce that representatives from the Shetland Fishermen's Association and the Scottish Fishermen's Federation will be visiting the isle next Monday, 24th March, for discussions on the Fair Isle MPA proposal. The community is looking forward to seeing them and determining common ground on the issue of sustainable management measures for Fair Isle waters.

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