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THE TRAWLERS GRAVEYARD; EXCLUSIVE.

Byline: STEVE McKENZIE

GUTTED and broken on a bed of splinters lie the sad hulks of Scots fishing boats condemned to be smashed to matchwood.

A far cry from the days when our trawlers crashed through the North Sea chased by clouds of hungry seagulls.

But this is the scrapyard where the pride of Scotland's white fish fleet will be torn apart for scrap in a drastic bid to protect cod stocks. This week, 51 boats will be broken up under the Scottish Executive's decommissioning scheme, which is driven by EU cuts on fishing quotas.

The small Danish port of Grenaa is the main destination for the doomed vessels. Other boats will be scrapped at nearby Esbjerg.

Peterhead -home to many of the boats -is also offering a dry dock for dismantling work in an attempt to create local jobs. But the move has triggered strong emotions in the fishing community.

Carol MacDonald, of the Cod Crusaders campaign group, said: ``I am all for generating more jobs for the local economy but it is ironic it has to be through the dismantling of our boats.''

Owners of the 51 vessels accepted for the scheme will be compensated from a pounds 40million fund.

The process was delayed last month by a row over owners having to pay ``administration costs'' to have their vessels scrapped abroad.

Yesterday, an insider at Fornaes APS, who run the decommissioning yard in Grenaa, said: ``Last year, we scrapped more than 50 Scots and English boats. We expect to see another five or six Scots boats this week.''

In the previous round of decommissioning last year, 36 boats were broken-up at Grenaa and 11 at Esbjerg.

CAPTION(S):

Campaign: Carol MacDonald; End of an era: Scottish fishing boats lie on the quayside at Grenaa, Denmark, as they wait to be scrapped. More are expected to arrive this week
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Publication:Sunday Mail (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Sep 7, 2003
Words:311
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