THE vast majority of people living in East Lothian believe that fishing fleets should be safeguarded as seas become more crowded with the emergence of offshore wind and renewables, according to a new survey.

A thousand adults were polled by the Scottish Fishermen’s Federation (SFF) and the findings show strong public support for protecting the industry as it faces pressures from new marine users.

Ninety per cent of those surveyed in East Lothian believe that fleets should be protected among crowded seas, with only four per cent saying they have an overall negative opinion of the sector.

Nationwide, just one in 50 Scots disagrees that the Scottish Government should do more to support the country’s fishing fleets.

The findings were released after the SFF’s 50th anniversary dinner, where chief executive Elspeth Macdonald told 100 guests that fishing deserved recognition for its low environmental impact.

She said: “This survey proves conclusively that the people of Scotland firmly believe fishing should continue to be a priority as we balance the needs of different marine industries.”

The poll of 1,000 people was carried out between October 23 and 25.

Offshore wind farms are being developed in the Firth of Forth/outer Firth of Forth.

Berwick Bank Wind Farm, for instance, has the potential to deliver up to 4.1 GW of installed capacity, making it one of the largest “offshore opportunities” in the world.

It has two connection points to the UK electricity grid, including at Branxton, near Torness, after coming onshore at Skateraw.