News / Fishermen’s Brexit concerns

Orkney and Shetland MP Alistair Carmichael.

NORTHERN Isles MP Alistair Carmichael has written to prime minister Theresa May for clarification on whether the UK will remain in the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) during a transitional period before the country leaves the European Union.

 The Liberal Democrat said it is “alarming” that recent reports suggested that the UK will only be “consulted” on annual fisheries settlements during the transitional period, which is due to start from March next year.

In his letter, Carmichael wrote: “The fishing industry understands and accepts the need for there to be a ‘bridging’ period from the end of March 2019 to the end of the year, at which point the quotas and Total Allowable Catches set in December 2018 will expire.

“I remain of the view, as does the industry, that for UK vessels to be governed thereafter by rules in which we shall have had no part in agreeing is unacceptable. If that is a red line, then there is, as I said in the House, nothing to discuss.”


He echoed the views of industry bodies Scottish White Fish Producers’ Association and Shetland Fishermen’s Association, who also warned against being governed by Brussels post-Brexit.

They say the UK government should take full control of its own waters from Brexit day on 29 March 2019.

Carmichael added that May has repeatedly avoided the issue when he has challenged her on CFP membership.

“The publication of an EU document showing that they expect the UK to remain subject to EU fisheries rules even though we will have no part in agreeing them shows the danger of Theresa May’s approach,” he said.

“She now needs to make clear that after the UK leaves the CFP there is nothing left to discuss and that unlike in the 1970s she does not regard our fishing industry as expendable.”


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