Small fishing vessels are struggling to meet strict data logging regulations in areas lacking mobile reception and Isles MP Angus MacNeil is calling for more flexibility of the rules.

Mr MacNeil highlighted the case of a fishing vessel in Na h-Eileanan an Iar which is now facing a £2,000 fine for failing to submit data for a period when the only mobile mast covering its fishing area was out of service. 

 

The requirement to submit data electronically is an EU regulation but Mr MacNeil said there must be some flexibility exercised by fishing administrations such as Marine Scotland under such circumstances.

He said: “At times when the mast is down or in areas with a poor signal, the task of data logging can be almost impossible for small fishing vessels without a satellite communications system. For smaller vessels it is not feasible to have a satellite system in place.

“The mobile mast covering the area, in which a vessel is now facing a large fine, was down for an extended period meaning there was no mobile signal available to allow those without a satellite signal to submit data.

“I am writing to Marine Scotland urging them to reconsider this case which could have a negative impact on a local business.

“I am also asking them to reconsider the strict rules for small vessels where satellite is not a feasible option and particularly in areas with poor mobile reception.”