PRESS RELEASE FOR IMMEDIATE USE: THE ISLE OF TIREE RESPONDS TO THE HIGHLY PROTECTED MARINE AREAS CONSULTATION.
“We would be wiped out overnight with one stroke of the pen”.
Tiree Community Council and the Tiree Community Development Trust have raised grave concerns in response to the Government’s Highly Protected Marine Areas consultation saying, “It is not an exaggeration to say that the designation of the waters used by the Tiree fishing fleet – from Skerryvore to the Cairns of Coll – as a Highly Protected Marine Area (HPMA) poses an existential threat to the Tiree community.”
Tiree’s small harbour received a major upgrade in 2020, thanks to a £1.1 million investment from the Scottish Government, HIE and the Tiree Community Development Trust.
From two boats in 1995, the local fleet is now nine strong providing 20 full time jobs. The annual catch of crab and lobster has a value of around £1,000,000 and a quarter of the children in P4 and below come from fishing families.
Local fisherman Neil MacPhail said, “My boat alone puts food on the table for eleven people. One boat’s worth of economic impact is huge in a community such as Tiree. It’s the only industry in the island which has genuinely bucked the depopulation trend. If this landed on top of us, we would be wiped out overnight with one stroke of the pen on a chart.”
Tiree’s population at the 2011 Census had declined to 653, a 15% fall over the previous 10 years. The secondary school roll is now 30, and an increasing number of young people are choosing to transfer to Oban to complete their education.
Rhoda Meek, Chair of the Tiree Community Development Trust said, “Our island, as a thriving community, is perilously close to being non-viable. Social capital has been hollowed out and many voluntary committees are under strength. The Tiree community is hanging on by its fingertips. If the Tiree fleet cannot work local waters, there will be no fishing boats, no fishermen, and no fishing families. It will be the end of our community.”
FURTHER INFORMATION & CONTACTS
Rhoda Meek (Chair of Tiree Community Development Trust) and Neil MacPhail, (Fisherman) are both available for comment.
Rhoda Meek: 07771394030
Neil MacPhail: 07747791400
This image features the crew and families who make their living from just one of the boats in Tiree, belonging to Neil MacPhail. “One boat worth of economic impact.”
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