THE picture painted by Vicky Allan ("We must not delay action to protect marine life in our precious waters", The Herald, March 21), is best described as a caricature. That’s perhaps not surprising when she relies so heavily on the misleading statements of corporately-funded environmental groups.

It is fair that the fishing industry’s record and policy positions should be subjected to scrutiny, however the same does not seem to apply to ENGOs (environmental non-governmental organisations). It seems that many of these groups have a pathological hatred of fishing and will happily cite any snippet of unreliable evidence in their quest to ban it altogether.

It is difficult to understand why this antipathy exists when fishing in Scotland is very well managed. Thanks to the good work done over many years by skippers and fisheries managers, innovating and adopting new technology, there has been a steady upwards trend in sustainable fishing – and consequently the health of most of our stocks – over the last 30 years. There is always more to do, but much progress has been made, as the Scottish Government’s own national performance indicators show.

Industry welcomed and has been closely and constructively involved in the development of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs), which aim to strike a balance between conservation and sustainable harvesting (unlike HPMAs which will ban fishing altogether) and cover 37% of Scotland’s waters.

Food is fundamental to human existence, and wild-caught seafood is universally recognised as contributing significantly to healthy living. Official advice is for people to eat at least two portions of fish per week, one of them oily, and the Scottish Government has a dietary goal of increasing fish consumption among the population.

Our industry has a lower carbon footprint than most other forms of food production. A scientific paper published recently in the journal Nature Climate Change showed that seafood has greenhouse gas emissions similar to those of vegetable production, so is a climate-smart form of protein production.

As the marine biologist Professor Ray Hilborn states: “In general, eating fish that are sustainably harvested from the sea has a lower environmental impact than the alternatives of livestock or even a vegetarian diet. Therefore, well-meaning ‘precautionary’ reductions in fishing pressure will have inevitable consequences that lost protein from the ocean will need to be replaced by protein from the land. If not, famine follows.”

I’m amazed that Ms Allan compares her grief at not being able to swim somewhere with the loss of livelihood of entire communities. People and communities are part of the wider ecosystem, which needs to be looked at as a whole. This is well understood as part of the international call for an Ecosystem Approach to fisheries management.

As with any human endeavour, we can raise our game, and we will, but from a very strong starting point as a scientifically-acknowledged low-emission producer of nutritious and healthy food and not the water-borne bogeyman of the greens’ imagination.

Elspeth Macdonald, Chief Executive, Scottish Fishermen’s Federation, Aberdeen.

Read more: HPMAs: We must not delay protecting Scotland's marine life


MANY people have an appalling delusion that pumped hydro and other energy storage technologies will solve the problem that solar and wind are highly variable (“SSE plan to create huge new hydro battery for storage”, The Herald, March 22). UK primary energy consumption (all energy, not just electricity) in 2021 was 1,978,000 GWh (gigawatt hours). How many GWh of storage would we need to smooth out renewable generation? A week's worth of consumption? A month's worth? The answer is that nobody really knows.

Let's do a calculation. Let's say that two weeks' worth would be needed. This would be 76,076 GWh of storage. Compare that to what the UK already has, four major pumped hydro schemes totalling 30 GWh and a small amount of batteries totalling 1 GWh, roughly. The proposed pumped hydro scheme at Coire Glas would be 30 GWh. In conclusion we would need around 2,500 Coire Glas schemes, plus cabling.

Clearly this engineering challenge is not viable, never mind the cost.

Geoff Moore, Alness.


I THINK gender dysphoria is a real thing and people afflicted by it deserve help and support. It pleases me to see footballers wearing rainbow laces. I think it’s good that people are becoming more aware that the wealth of Europe and North America was partly derived from brutal exploitation of other parts of the world. I approve of the National Trust telling visitors that some of its properties were bought with the profits of the slave trade. I think it’s admirable that people all around the world are moved to protest when a man is killed by the police officers who are supposed to be taking him into custody. On balance, I approved of the pulling-down of the Colson statue in Bristol. I seriously doubt whether children are damaged by the sight of a drag queen. I support affirmative action in the workplace on behalf of women and people of colour.

So all in all, I guess I must be woke, and I was dismayed to learn, from Graeme Arnott’s letter (March 21), that that makes me part of a leftist elite which is a threat to all we hold dear. I don’t feel all that elite in my wee Hamilton semi and I haven’t voted for a left-wing (or ostensibly left-wing) party for 40 years, but there you go.

Douglas Graham, Hamilton.

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GLASGOW is at a standstill. Stationary traffic exudes toxic fumes, hardly helping climate change; there is a rash of roadworks on multiple arteries, clogged junctions and frustrated drivers. Dare I suggest we’re coming to the end of Glasgow City Council’s financial year, and monies have to be spent willy-nilly regardless of rationale, or the following year’s budget will be reduced?

The roads department doesn’t seem to have any consideration for easy flow of traffic. At one of Scotland’s busiest junctions, Anniesland Cross, chaos reigns, with roads personnel digging up the road in order to instal what looks like a bus stop “peninsula”. This will limit Great Western Road to one lane only. Really? Is there no common sense in the traffic department?

Lesley Mackiggan, Glasgow.


I NOTE with interest your Issue of the Day ("Wanted: support for Nessie, The Herald, March 22). I have a good friend who swears that for many years in early spring his mother-in-law was invited by Visit Scotland and the Inverness Tourist Board to swim in Loch Ness, all expenses paid.

R Russell Smith, Largs.