Dredging Response

In response to the tourists, James and Linda Laikie’s, cheeky letter which was a personal attack on me, my fishing boat Venus 11 K574 and type of fishing.

I find it very weird that people choose to holiday in a place and write a very patronising letter to the local newsletter complaining about the locals way of life when they should be enjoying themselves!

“The sensible folk like the Tiree fishermen”. That obviously implies that me trying to diversify and grow my business to be more multipurpose, i.e., creels and clams, is not sensible. Doing this gives me different fishing options at different times of year. Working mobile gear makes it easier for me to work a more structured week to be able to get more time ashore with my young family. Also I can tap into the very abundant resource that lies not even a mile off the shore in some places round the island, which for the last 20 odd years has been left to visiting boats from other parts of the country.

Scallop dredging is not a new thing on Tiree!! People often get carried away with this word ‘Sustainable’, and are very naive when it comes to listening to extremist conservationists, scientists and the like. Everything is sustainable if you look after it! If fishermen take all the stock off one bit of ground then there will be nothing left for next year. It is in our best interests to look after our own waters and the stocks within them. After all it is not just this year that we have to sustain our catches, but for the rest of our careers and that of the people coming behind us whether that be sons, daughters or new entrants.

This year we have opted-in voluntarily to increase the minimum sizes of the shellfish. Fishing is quite similar to crofting in some ways. You have to look after the ground to reap the benefits. Crofters turn the ground, sow crops and fertilize so they have sufficient food to keep livestock through the winter. Scallop dredging has been happening around the coast for decades and is very sustainable in its current state.

“Hand dived scallops are all that anyone who cares about the sea and its creatures should eat” – I hate to tell you but around 2% of the UK scallop fishery is caught by divers, the remaining 98% caught by dredges. Divers simply cannot supply the demand on their own. We all care about the sea and its creatures, but we also have to make a living. In my view conservation is best left to the stake holders of the ground and people who know then area.

In places like Tiree the weather is very much a form of natural conservation. When is it going to be time to start conserving the people and their way of lives?? Very soon every wee creature and organism both ashore and at sea will be conserved but there will be no people left in these areas to work them or contribute to the local economies.

For some more information look on the Fishing for the Truth website. This covers all types of fishing. http://www.fishingforthetruth.co.uk/environment/scallop-fishing

Well, when I eventually find the Parrot referred to in the Laikie’s letter I will be sure to offer him/her a tasty, sustainably dredged Tiree scallop to enjoy.


Coinneach MacKinnon

Skipper/Owner of Venus2 K574

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