Fishermen savage SNP for presiding over 'environmental catastrophe'

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Hundreds of Scottish fishermen say trawling has devastated the nation’s inshore waters, destroying plant and animal life. They want an exclusion zone set up so the sea can recover and a shift to sustainable fishing. Neil Mackay reports

BALLY Philp is steering his fishing boat, the Nemesis, through dark winter seas not far from the Isle of Skye. Beneath him, the seabed is destroyed. “It’s a desert,” Philp says. Fish stocks have collapsed. There’s basically nothing left down there but shellfish, adds – and that’s what he’s hunting. Everything else is gone, plundered by trawlers.

For 30 years, Philp has fished Scotland’s seas. “What’s happened in that time has been an environmental disaster,” he says. Philp is a creel fisherman. Small boats like his fish in our inshore waters, sending down divers for scallops, or using pots – known as creels – to catch crab and lobster. It’s the sustainable way to fish.

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