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Scotland's fisheries low on stocks

The fishing industry is key to the prosperity of many of South Scotland's coastal communities. But some fishermen are concerned that stocks are getting low.

They claim the management of inshore waters is under resourced and more action is needed to support the sector.

Kathryn Samson reports from the Borders coastal town of Eyemouth:

MSP's debate Scotland's 'under resourced' fisheries

Fishermen in Scottish waters are struggling Credit: PA

MSPs are debating what steps can be taken to protect and improve Scotland's inshore fisheries.

In communities like Eyemouth in the borders, it's a key industry, and fishermen there are struggling because of low stocks.

The Scottish Government says it's committed to developing the sector, but Fishermen's leaders say the groups set up to manage inshore waters are under resourced, compared to those in England.

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Tweed salmon catches up 40%

Figures show that salmon catches in the River Tweed are up 40% on the previous year.

A report by the River Tweed Commission shows that a total of 20,316 salmon were reported caught last year, up from 14,566 in 2012.

Chairman Dougas Dobbie put the increase down to a late run of exceptional catches, due to the autumn rainfall.

The Tweed Commission will go through the report at their AGM at the Cross Keys in Kelso at 9.30am this morning (3rd March).

The meeting is open to the public for the first time.

How hedgehog homes are helping fish stocks

The Environment Agency is revisiting a Cumbrian lake where hedgehog shaped refuges were installed last year to help protect fish stocks.

Bassenthwaite is the first English lake to use the spiky constructions which provide shelter and a safe haven from predators.

A remote control boat will help monitor how well they are working.

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Exploiting workers has 'all the making of a tragedy'

“Illegal cockle fishing in our area has been a major problem recently and it is right that the Police and other agencies clamp down on the exploitation of foreign workers by criminal gangs in our area.

"This is a major multi-agency operation involving 150 personnel and sends a clear signal to criminal gangs that their actions will no longer be tolerated.”

– MSP Elaine Murray, Dumfriesshire, Labour

"“The people the gangs use to illegally fish are risking their lives out on the Solway Coast.

"These are dangerous waters at any time, but especially since they usually operate at night.

"This has all the makings of a tragedy waiting to happen and we need to prevent them being exploited.”

– MP Russell Brown, Dumfries and Galloway, Labour

Local politicians welcome raids

Two local politicians have welcomed an operation on the alleged exploitation of foreign workers employed in the fishing industry.

The exercise was carried out across the region this morning by police and various other UK agencies.

Dumfries and Galloway MP Russell Brown and Dumfriesshire MSP Elaine Murray, both Labour, say that iIllegal cockle fishing in the region has been a major problem with gangs often using foreign workers to obtain the cockles.

Raids are part of a 'large and complex enquiry'

“Over 150 personnel from Dumfries and Galloway Constabulary and these partner agencies were involved in the operation.

“I can confirm that we are currently co-ordinating welfare and support arrangements for 17 foreign nationals located during this morning’s searches.

"These individuals came to the UK from The Philippines, Sri Lanka and Indonesia to work in the fishing industry.

"We are at an early stage of a large scale and complex enquiry."

– Chief Superintendent Gary Smal, Dumfries and Galloway Police
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