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Some of the remaining fishermen on Scalpay have spoken out against the Highly Protected Marine Area proposals which a whole range of organisations are warning will destroy jobs and communities all across the Western Isles. 

Writing on their Facebook Page, Scalpay Shellfish says: "Our own island, Scalpay, is testimony to bad Government decisions. Between the 1950’s and 70’s herring fishing made Scalpay and Eriskay two of the most prosperous little islands in the country. Scalpay itself had a population of circa 600. A school with a roll of between 70 and 90 – decent even by today’s standards.

"Three shops, a butcher, two mobile shops, a small petrol station and a post office. However, as we can see today, bad Government decisions have a huge impact on lives. The Government closed the West Coast herring fishing which was booming at the time by a method that was sustainable in its form and day, ringnet.

"Instead of targeting or restricting the huge horsepower vessels, the Government introduced a blanket ban which decimated our little island.

"Fast forward 50 years. No one here can fish herring commercially. A more sobering thought, we can hardly crew a vessel with young fishermen. Today less than 10 go to sea on Scalpay. The current population of Scalpay is circa 220. We have no school, no shops, no petrol and no post office.

"In its day, Ringnet fishing was a sustainable method of harvesting herring. When we look to the southwest of England, we see that a number of Cornish fishermen have developed a niche market using the ringnet method of fishing. A skill and a method that is completely lost in our corner of the world now.

"Here we are again today where bad Government decisions are affecting our little island.

"[SNP Leadership candiate] Kate Forbes came out publicly and indicated that she would have scrapped the present Governments HPMA proposal. To our knowledge, Mr Yousaf is not of this opinion so we assume that he is to proceed with the outrageous, ill-thought through, ludicrous proposals to inflict a policy that will have such devastating consequences on our industry.

"Politicians in Holyrood speak much of how devastating London is to Scotland, may we…gently remind said politicians in Edinburgh that Edinburgh is our London – completely and utterly detached from reality as to what is happening in our Highlands and Islands.

"We were brought up in the knowledge that we hold elections and vote for who we wish to represent us, the winner of such elections are sent to Holyrood to represent us. We ask them to go there to speak on our behalf. We respectfully ask them to ensure that our transport system works, that our healthcare system works, that our education system works.

"We do not send them to Edinburgh to concoct or dream up proposals that can only be described as a rod to use to beat our backs with.

"These proposals, if allowed to be brought to fruition, will bring our operation slowly to an end. We fear these proposals are the thin end of the wedge and when our government has finally done away with fishing they will move onto other industries on sea and on land. All in the name of conservation. So to all our followers and those who buy our shellfish, we may reach a point in time where we will only be able to supply you with pictures of our delicious shellfish.

"Can we urge you, please, to show your support and respond to the HPMA consultation which is attached below.