I THINK it’s evident that the proposed Highly Protected Marine Areas policy will require significant amendment before it comes into practice. To appear to equate the impacts of creel fishers, hand divers and swimmers with seabed trawlers and dredgers is a nonsense.

At the same time, Kate Forbes’s reference to never having met a fisherman “who didn’t understand that the future of coastal communities and local economies depended on careful and ethical management of marine life” suggests that she has not come across the Shetland “black fish” guys, or the trawler man who wrecked the flame shell beds at Loch Carron, or those convicted of prohibited fishing (No part of Scotland should be left behind as we build a wealthier country, Apr 5).

Perhaps the real bogeymen when it comes to the health of fish stocks are fishers rather than policy-makers and politicians. After all, if everyone played “nice”, why are there quotas, fishing patrol boats/planes and gear conflicts?

READ MORE: Kate Forbes calls for fishing ban proposals to be dumped

Probably the majority of men in west coast and island communities before the late 19th century were crofter/fishers, fishing close to shore mainly for household use. Then boats with bigger engine power and seagoing capability arrived from elsewhere and put an end that activity.

This wasn’t exclusive to the west coast. See, for example, the impact of steam trawlers on Aberdeenshire villages on the line fishers there. It’s a worldwide phenomenon – unless adequate regulations are put in place backed up by effective enforcement, boats with more powerful engines and gear capacity will always displace those less “capable”.

Until fishers and others (Marine Scotland?) accept that our marine habitats, biodiversity and fish stocks are hugely depleted compared to their potential, improvements can only be at the margins. Comparisons with condition of marine habitats and fish stocks during one’s lifetime, or even across a few decades, are meaningless when fish stocks were already in trouble.

Hands up for a new three-mile limit?

Roddie Macpherson

READ MORE: What are HPMAs and why are they causing controversy?

KATE Forbes’s first article shows her strength and love of her country in her wonderfully warm, considered article reflecting on growing and sharing Scotland’s wealth for the benefit of all communities seen very much from a Highland perspective.

Kate also highlights some of the population statistics for Highlands and Islands, which indicate that if nothing is done to change the fortunes of our more northern population, large areas of Scotland will lie abandoned.

Christine Smith

THE headline above Gerry Hassan’s column certainly caught my eye (Contempt for the Greens is one thing that reactionaries can agree upon, Apr 4).

However, regarding Gerry’s excellent column, I do have one small complaint. Although several of the commentators thus described were named, Gerry missed one. I refer to Kevin McKenna, who – when not busy shovelling the clods atop the grave (he hopes) of the SNP – occasionally finds time to denigrate the Greens.

I refer to a recent column in which McKenna assured us that the Greens lead “a nasty, vindictive and misogynistic sect” (Change is needed in the SNP before we can consider independence, Mar 8).

On March 22 Mr McKenna referred to “the embarrassingly low calibre” of the two Scottish Greens given ministerial posts, and mentioned one being regarded as “a joke figure”. Contemptuous? Undeniably. Is Mr McKenna a “reactionary”? No comment.

Malcolm Cordell
Broughty Ferry, Dundee

BRAVO, Mr Hassan, for debunking the countering of a few self-important fogeys who are now focusing attention on the Green Party after nearly a decade of misogynistic nastiness directed at the former First Minister.

The Scottish “commentariat” is a pretty small group, who read each other’s columns and tweets and generally frequent the places where mainly they and a few reactionary politicians go. They engage in mutual mental masturbation, and ejaculate the same impotent and disfigured sperm. Mr Hassan’s chiding of them is long overdue.

Alasdair Macdonald

FERGUS Ewing is not my representative but here is my advice to him. Fergus, shut up, you’re beginning to sound like a Jim Sillars or Alex Neil. Perhaps, like them, you are yesterday’s man and need deselected and replaced by a hungrier and younger activist!

Steve Cunningham

READ MORE: Steph Paton: If only Scottish Greens were as ‘extreme’ as Fergus Ewing thinks

SO Anas Sarwar rejects the Tory proposal for a pact at the next election. That will be the same kind of rejection he promised before getting into bed with Tories on so many local councils.

P Davidson

CHRIS Law concludes his piece in Tuesday's National by assuring readers, “I will not let the UK Government silence my voice, nor indeed any of my colleagues, you can trust me on that” (The world is looking to Scotland – and Westminster is trying to silence us, Apr 4).

That’ll be the same trust my fellow country men and women put in “I’ll not let Scotland be dragged out of the European Union”, as parroted by Ian Blackford MP, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and a host of other colleagues who ultimately stood by and did exactly nothing when that particular thistle needed to be grasped.

It’s fair to say it’s fake sentiments such as that which have eroded the Yes movement’s confidence and enthusiasm for independence in Scotland anytime soon.

Iain Bruce