I WAS interested to read Jim Anderson’s comments in response to Ariane Burgess's column. I remember holidaying near Poolewe in the 1970s, going out in a rowing boat with rod and line to fish for mackerel. There were none. I learned that a French trawler had been into the loch at night and cleaned it out.

There have been claims that fishing communities would be the best stewards of their fish stocks. Unfortunately this doesn’t always work out. Notoriously the Newfoundland Grand Banks cod fishery collapsed from overfishing, having been astonishingly prolific for centuries. 30 years of moratorium has seen no significant recovery.

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The problem is known as the “tragedy of the commons”. Even when everyone concerned knows there is need for restraint in exploiting a resource, it is in no one’s individual interest to do so, unless they know everyone else is equally restrained, because only they will lose out while the resource is still being over-exploited, to the others’ temporary benefit. This is why regulation is essential.

This obviously doesn’t mean that our fishing communities should not be at the heart of implementing protected areas, but surely something more along the lines of the common grazing committees of crofting communities could be devised, which regulate the stocking of common grazings at a sustainable level. That way the communities themselves have ownership of the process. The snag is that common grazings are separate, bounded areas. The seas are not, so any policy has to apply on a much wider scale.

Robert Moffat

THE Darien Scheme’s failure is often cited as the self-inflicted wound that made the Union inevitable. In fact, England sabotaged the Darien project from the beginning.

Seventeenth-century England was continually at war, mainly with Holland and France. This impacted Scotland because France was Scotland’s largest trading partner but England’s biggest rival. After the 1603 Union of Crowns, England revoked trading privileges between the Scots and French, severing the largest component of Scottish income.

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The 1660 Navigation Act barred Scotland from trading with the American colonies, and England raised the tariff on Scottish linen imported by England. As a result, Scotland had no choice but to create new trading outlets. William Paterson, a well-respected Scottish merchant and Bank of England founder, conceived of and carefully planned the Darien project to break the monopoly of the English East India company by establishing a Scottish port linking the Atlantic and the Pacific that would be open to all European traders.

Paterson’s plan, deemed sound, was approved by London’s elite. What wasn’t anticipated was sabotage by England. Westminster discouraged investors and William III ensured that no governor in the region would trade or aid the Scots.

England threatened Scotland with land and sea invasion if it didn’t sign the Treaty of Union and it bribed the signatories.

The sovereign Scottish people are realising they have the power to end a union that has subjugated them for centuries. That power is what England fears most.

Leah Gunn Barrett

WELL done Lesley Riddoch for bringing to the fore what is happening in Torry and St Fittocks – a shame to the council of Aberdeen (Drowning in a sea of green-wash: what’s just about Torry’s transition?, May 11).

Torry was the fishing base in Aberdeen – the oil of its time, employing whole families and bringing wealth to the city through the fishing industry. It was, and hopefully will be again, a thriving community.

I live in leafy, unpolluted Stonehaven but my daughter is in Torry (and I don’t want 12 years knocked off her lifespan). I am a Friend of St Fittocks. My grandfather was a trawl cook – a dangerous and arduous occupation more than 100 years ago, out on the seas without the safety incorporated on today’s vessels.

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This historic site needs protection, not just for the health and mental wellbeing of its population but because if St Fittocks is bulldozed out of existence, so is hundreds of years of Aberdeen’s history. Go to the church of St Fittocks and see for yourself this ancient building with its leper’s ear and chain at the door of the church for the fornicators to be seen as the congregation went in.

Because of cuts, Big Noise in Torry was under threat, as was their library – all vital to a community’s existence. To take away the green space with its biodiversity, peace and calm is beyond cruel, beyond a travesty of justice.

I have contacted Mairi Gougeon, Rural Affairs Secretary, to ask if she can have any input to this affair, but so far I have had no response!

At a time when it is recognised that open spaces are vital to health and mental wellbeing, at a time when communities are under threat of flooding because of climate change, in a time when biodiversity and the protection of environment is so high on the agenda, just what do Aberdeen Council think they are doing!

All power to the people’s assembly in May.

Frieda Burns