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Comhairle nan Eilean Siar has tabled proposals to the Scottish Government for a community-based fishing quota pilot scheme.

The pilot scheme would see local authorities have more of a say over the allocation of fishing quotas, allowing for the prioritisation of local fishing industries.

The move follows Comhairle discussions last month on the Scottish Government’s decision-making on allocating additional fishing quotas following the UK’s withdrawal from the EU.

Comhairle nan Eilean Siar currently implements a community quota scheme to allocate existing fishing quotas and would welcome the opportunity to administer additional quotas in the same way. 

They are also looking to work with Holyrood to pilot a community quota scheme that could be rolled out nationally to other interested local authorities and stakeholders.

Councillor Donald Crichton, Chair of Comhairle nan Eilean Siar’s Sustainable Development Committee, said: “It is clear that additional fishing quotas present a real opportunity for our fishing industry. It would be incredibly disappointing if this opportunity was passed to a small number of large-scale operators rather than providing a proportionate benefit to the industry across Scotland.

“Comhairle nan Eilean Siar’s administration of community quota schemes has allowed for the local fishing industry to thrive. The Comhairle’s use of the scheme clearly demonstrates that local authorities are not only capable of implementing the proposed pilot programme but are also best placed to understand the needs of their own local fishing industries.”

He has written to the Scottish Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs, Land Reform and Islands, Mairi Gougeon, to propose a Community Quota Pilot Scheme.