Shetland Regional Inshore Fisheries Group (RIFG)
What is it?
The RIFG network is made up of six different groups; Shetland, Orkney, Outer Hebrides, North West Coast, South West Coast and North and East Coast. Each area has a RIFG Regional Chair and an RIFG Committee which meets around every three months. Each group covers inshore waters 0-12NM.
What do they do?
The RIFG network works to improve communication between the Scottish Government and Scottish Fishers, and Scottish Fishers and the Scottish Government. These groups aim to give additional opportunities for fishers to get involved with inshore fisheries management and access government officials. The groups can also work on specific local projects with research institutes and other organisations. The Shetland RIFG group will work alongside the Shetland Fishing Groups and Associations and provides an additional resource for the fishing communities. The RIFG will also have a role to support fishers in wider marine matters such as marine renewables and marine planning.
What is different in Shetland?
Shetland has unique devolved management of fisheries responsibility through the Shetland Regulating Order. This gives the Shetland Shellfish Management Organisation legal powers to manage; oysters, mussels, cockles, clams, lobsters, scallops, queen scallops, crabs, whelks and razorshells. The SSMO works on the long-term sustainability of these fisheries. The RIFG will work very closely with the SSMO on fisheries management, and fisheries not included in the regulating order, up to the 12 NM will come under the Shetland RIFG responsibilities.
What different ways can fishers be involved?
The Shetland RIFG can only function with input from the fishers with first-hand experience of the issues. The RIFG is looking for fishers to get involved with this group. This can be either through joining the committee or through getting in touch with the chair when you want to discuss a particular issue.
One of the first focuses of the Shetland group will be young people in the industry (definition of young fairly flexible!) and it would be great to hear from some young folk starting off in the industry to hear about the issues which face them.
So, if you think you might be interested in this group or you would like more information please get in touch with the Shetland RIFG chair or go to the website www.rifg.scot
or phone: 07780464135
Drop-In Meetings with Shetland RIFG Chair Hilary Burgess