Saving coastal communities

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MSP Nigel Don has discussed the importance of fishing businesses in our coastal communities at the Scottish Parliament.

Nigel Don, the MSP for Angus North and the Mearns area, drew attention to the importance of Murray McBay & Co. based in Johnshaven and noted that without such businesses some of our coastal communities would be little more than commuter villages.

Mr Don told the Review: “Inshore fishing is a long-term part of Scotland’s economy, culture, and life, and we should not take any short-term decisions that would compromise that.”

Considering the impact of climate change on inshore waters has added to the need to address the issue, as fish species are moving in the North Sea to adjust to the rising water temperatures.”

Mr Don continued: “A result of climate change is that fish are moving around; large cold water species are moving deeper and warm-water species are moving to shallower waters, so it is necessary for the industry to adapt.

“I welcome the establishment of local inshore fishery groups because the management of our inshore waters needs to be collective effort.

“And I also encourage the Scottish Government to ensure that we have the best possible scientific information to guide us.”

Global warming has forced fish stocks in the North Sea many miles north to cooler waters, according to a study by climate change scientists and experts.

Major fish species, including cod and haddock, have sought out cooler waters in response to a 1C rise in the temperature of the North Sea over the past 25 years.

In the same period, more exotic southern species have started to arrive in North Sea waters and established themselves.

The shift in fish populations has profound implications for fisheries which have already driven stocks to record lows, the researchers say.

The climate change scientists found that 21 species had shifted their distributions in line with the rise in sea temperature, and 18 species had moved much further north. According to the study, published today in the journal Science, the North Sea cod population has moved 73 miles towards the Arctic while haddock have moved 65 miles north.