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Yo-yo planning policy sees Wyre fish farm site granted
Posted on 30 April 2014

The wild Orkney fishery received a devastating set back this morning when councillors on Orkney Islands Council’s Planning committee reversed the outcome of a decision taken at a prior planning meeting on 26th March 2014.
This procedure which found a change of wallpaper and reshuffle of suits within the council chamber totally reverse a previously debated planning issue, hardly covers the OIC  in glory and illuminates some of the serious democratic deficits that occur within a small multi-purpose authority. Something those calling for increased powers may wish to deliberate over.
Orkney Fisheries Association strongly objected to the planning proposal by Scottish Sea Farms citing the OIC’s policy in regard to negative direct, indirect and cumulative impacts on other marine users, namely the indigenous inshore creel and diver fishery .
A strong case was made that there was no planning context for displacing an existing activity, that no mitigation was proposed and that as a result the status quo of a legitimate marine activity would cease.
OFA have been carrying out industry lead analysis on the replenishment rates of juvenile scallop at Wyre and the hypothesis of diver observation is showing how fertile the area is with the adjacent maerl and seagrass beds supplying the expanded nursery area.
What will now result is in effect a marine battery chicken farm to be deposited into a pristine environment where pollutants may significantly affect the ecosystem and the biology of commercial stock.
Purchasers of factory farmed salmon from Orkney may wish to look a little deeper at what is being sacrificed to provide the product they buy in top supermarkets – indeed supermarkets themselves may wish to recheck how ‘green’ this product is when it in effect puts inshore fishermen out of work.
The wholly organic, sustainable, discard zero, chemical zero, locally owned and operated inshore fishery for Orkney crab, lobster and hand-dived scallops is facing a clearance from its fishing grounds from a latter day Duke of Sutherland in the shape of aggressive expansion from foreign owned multi-national Aquaculture companies, whose fundamental interest is it appears, in maximising profits at minimum expense. That Scottish Government endorse and encourage this in inshore fishing rich areas like Orkney is a woefull economic and ethical blunder.
OFA will now be stepping up its campaign to protect its fishery stocks and the livelihoods of its fishermen. In no other walk of life would a reduction of wages, the impediments to normal working environment be tolerated without an outcry, yet Orkney Islands Council seem willing to pollute in their own nest with little care for their own fishermen whose product is the bedrock on which all the quality marketing of the Orkney  food and drink brand relies.

Contact orkneyfisheries@btconnect.com

Posted on 30 April 2014
Quite the Clamity
Posted on 18 April 2014

In 2007 a clam was caught at the North coast of Iceland, Scientists believed at the time that it was over 400 years old, This meant that the clam (named "Ming" after the Ming Dynasty) was born around the time when King James I (James VI of Scotland was replacing Queen Elizabeth I on the English throne, Shakespeare was writing his greatest plays Hamlet, Othello, King Lear and Macbeth, and Giordano Bruno was burnt at the stake for espousing the view that the sun, rather than the earth was the centre of the universe. Yet in late 2013 Bangor scientists accidently killed the clam and doing so found out that instead of 400 years old it was 507 years old, which means that it was born on the same year that Leonardo da Vinci was still painting the Mona Lisa and the year Christopher Columbus died. We believe these clams may still live in Orkney waters.

Posted on 18 April 2014
A letter you won't see in this week's Orcadian
Posted on 17 April 2014

Orkney Fisheries Association 4 Ferry Terminal Buildings Kirkwall Pier Kirkwall KW15 1HU 14.4.14 Dear Sir In the interests of balance can we affirm that what we consider is a front-page newsworthy story is that for the first time ever in the history of aquaculture development in Orkney waters, the OIC have upheld the objections of the indigenous fishermen! The OIC are to be roundly congratulated for this as we detect that huge pressure has been placed on them to do otherwise. Since this has become a debate about who can quote figures with the biggest amount of zeros on the end, can we also assure all that collectively fishermen have also spent a comparable amount of money protecting their right to continue their legitimate fishing activity in the face of unprecedented spatial competition from a series of wealthy developers. That money has come out of their own pockets to fund their collective voice through OFA which is where the similarity to the funding of Scottish Sea Farms ends. Fiona Matheson

Posted on 17 April 2014
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