I FULLY support the proposal from the Scottish Creel Fisherman’s Federation to ban trawling within a three-mile limit around the west coast of Scotland (Call to reinstate fishing limit zone, October 30). I would suggest this should be extended to the entire coastline. Surely after we “take back control” of the exclusive 200-mile UK marine environment even Bertie Armstrong, representing the Scottish Fishermen’s Association, could concede this small exclusive zone to the creel men.

The above positions of self-interest are predictable.

What I find astonishing, in your article, is the comment made by the Scottish Government that “there were no plans to re introduce the three-mile limit” but that “it encouraged the development of inshore fisheries”. What bunkum!

The Scottish Government is currently supporting a proposal to introduce the industrial harvesting of the vast kelp beds throughout the west coast of Scotland. Similar proposals have already been thrown out in England and Wales and yet the SNP government are promoting this for us here.

How can they possibly claim to wish to “develop” inshore fisheries?

The reality is that trawling within the three-mile limit, permitted for the first time in our maritime history by the Tory Thatcher government in 1984, destroyed most of the fragile spawning areas of our most valuable fin fish like cod, haddock and whiting on the west coast.

Allowing the “industrial harvesting” of the kelp beds would destroy the last remaining extensive habitat for these marine species, indeed these kelp beds are an oasis for fragile vestigial stocks and the mammals like seals and otters that feed on them.

While I am at it they, the SNP government are hell-bent on doubling the production of farmed salmon in every sea loch on our west coas. We all know, perhaps with the exception of Nicola Sturgeon and her “scientific” advisors at Marine Scotland, the devastation these activities have had on our wild salmon and sea trout along the entire west coast – they are now almost extinct and the humble rod angler is now banned from keeping even one for the pot under fear of being charged with a criminal act.

The real criminal act is that of the Scottish Government allowing, indeed promoting, these environmentally destructive activities. Shame on you, and please no more meaningless “gov speak” about “developing inshore fisheries” – you have stood by and watched their destruction.

I say all this, critical as I am, as a lifelong supporter of the SNP.

I will continue to support the party as the only way to achieve independence but on their record on the marine environment I will be changing to the Greens on Independence Day plus one!

John Drummond

LEAVING apart the actual details of the individual case mentioned, your article ‘Estate’s anger over clearances claim by MSP’ (October 1) raises a couple of very important questions for the future of our country. These rarely get a mention in the great scheme of things, but it surely is time that someone took note of the implications.

Much is made of the need to plant masses of trees around the country and their importance in the great scheme of all things “green”, but please will those at the sharp end of deciding policy on such matters please just stop for a minute and think?

A headline rush into blanket tree planting has a lot of minuses. Up above Dunblane we have already seen the partial effect of this; the lower reaches of the historic Battle of Sheriffmuir (1715) site has already disappeared under trees, despite the objections of those of us living in the area. Within an area of around six miles of this, a further seven or so farms have all seen their breeding sheep stocks sold off and several thousand acres of trees replace them.

This means that possibly between six and seven thousand Scottish lambs have disappeared from the much prized and advertised food chain. This must also have a noticeable effect on our food export figures. Along with that goes the existence of half a dozen or so jobs and families living in the countryside.

The amount of farms being taken out of availability to the younger generations of the farming community is also a serious concern. All that I have mentioned is only in this one small area; it is, however, being replicated again and again around Scotland.

We are constantly being told that tourism is one of the main backbones of the Scottish economy and that its success is part of the bedrock of our success as a country to be greatly prized, especially once independence has been achieved.

Will the hordes of overseas tourists still be willing to travel to our shores and spend their hard-earned cash if they are going to be faced with travelling through endless miles of “tunnels” of trees as they move around our beautiful country?

George M Mitchell