Tributes Paid to Willie Hay

Willie Hay (left) pictured last year with Scottish Prime Minister Alec Salmond

Tributes have flooded in from across Scotland and the European Union to Willie Hay CBE, the former President of the Scottish Fishermen's Federation, who died on Wednesday 18th December aged 84.

Originally from Portsoy in Banffshire, Willie Hay first went to sea on a Clyde based trawler in 1943, aged 15, when he was immediately exposed to the war at sea, ferrying troops and sailors between the shore and warships stationed in the Atlantic.

He continued his career as a deck hand, ultimately becoming skipper, and bought his first fishing vessel, the Golden Eagle, in 1956, which was registered in Buckie.  Later he acquired a larger vessel, the Lode Star before, in 1967, commissioning a new boat, the Illustrious, with which he had his greatest success.

He has been involved with the Federation for more than 40 years, through some of the industry's most turbulent times, beginning with the so-called 'Cod War' with Iceland in the 1970s, when he fought hard for an exclusive 100-mile fishing zone around the Scottish coast.

Willie Hay became President of the Scottish Fishermen's Federation in 1982, remaining in the post for 11 years and seeing the fishing industry through difficult times that included the reform of Europe's Common Fisheries Policy, when his steady hand and ready wit ensured the Scottish fishing industry's position was recognised at the highest levels.

Bob Allan, Chief Executive of the Federation during Willie's years as President, said: "Willie Hay had a big personality and was the type of man who, once met, you could never forget.  He was a very effective leader who was equally at ease in large meetings with fishermen or holding top-level discussions with Government or European officials.  He was held in huge respect by fishermen and Government ministers and the contribution he made to protecting the interests of the Scottish industry was, quite simply, immense."