BY MICHAEL RUSSELL
The Ministry of Defence have sought to allay concerns that an area of sea off Raasay will remain closed to fishing for the foreseeable future.
Local observers had feared that the “Rona box” – a stretch of water separate to the submarine testing range between Raasay and the mainland – would not be opened to fishermen for several years. As part of its expansion plans for the main range, the MoD had promised to re-open the box, following the closure of its facility on Rona.
This week, a spokeswoman for the MoD said: “Plans to enhance the Raasay Ranges will see withdrawal from the permanently manned range control facilities on Rona. The work currently carried out there will be transferred to the British Underwater Test and Evaluation Centre on the Applecross Peninsula and Kyle of Lochalsh.
“Since the new byelaws covering the Raasay Ranges were established on 29th June, the installation of new range infrastructure has been underway, which will enable the closure of the Rona site from 2017. Fishing restrictions currently in place around the island will then be lifted. In the meantime, fishermen should continue to avoid fishing in the exclusion zone as has previously been the case.”