ISLES MP Alistair Carmichael has warned that the fishing industry could be used as a “bargaining chip” in the forthcoming trade negotiations with the European Union, while Highlands and Islands SNP MSP Maree Todd added that the Tories were prepared to sell out Scotland’s fishing communities again.
The UK is leaving the EU on Friday night after which both sides will get ready to talk about its future relationship with the aim to conclude these negotiations by the end of the year.
Documents from the European Commission show that the EU’s negotiation position clearly aims for continuing with the status quo of reciprocal access to fishing waters and resources.
Meanwhile the Irish Taoiseach Leo Varadkar is quoted as saying that access to UK waters must continue for EU fishing boats if the UK wants a trade deal on banking.
Carmichael, who has always campaigned against Brexit, is calling on the UK government to demonstrate “some political will” and stick with the many promises made to fishermen since before the Brexit referendum in 2016.
“Documents from the European Commission make it plain that they see the status quo as the goal for fisheries negotiations,” the Lib Dem MP said.
“The government must prove it has some political will to fulfil the many promises made about an independent fisheries policy during and after the election. Their words say one thing. Actions speak louder.
“The move of fisheries from the binding Withdrawal Agreement into the non-binding Political Declaration already suggests that the Government may not be all that invested in “taking back control” in this area.
Shetland Fishermen’s Association chief officer Simon Collins said: “The next step for the fishing industry is to make sure that the UK government sticks to its promises and does not trade away our new legal control over our fishing grounds as part of a bigger package with the EU.
Become a supporter of Shetland News
“That would be the sell-out that we have argued against since the EU referendum three and a half years ago.”
Todd added: “Despite control over our waters being a key message from the Leave camp, and Boris Johnson vowing that Scotland’s fishing waters will not be used as a bargaining chip in Brexit talks, it’s come to light that the PM has gone back on his word – clearly viewing Scotland’s fisheries as expendable.
“As a Highlands & Islands MSP, I’m deeply worried about what this means for our coastal communities who are being left in the dark over Brexit talks.
“Rather than fulfilling their promise of the UK becoming an independent coastal state, the Tories are instead serving the fishing industry up as bait in EU negotiations.”
Become a supporter of Shetland News
Shetland News is asking its many readers to consider start paying for their dose of the latest local news delivered straight to their PC, tablet or mobile phone.
Journalism comes at a price and because that price is not being paid in today’s rapidly changing media world, most publishers - national and local - struggle financially despite very healthy audience figures.
Most online publishers have started charging for access to their websites, others have chosen a different route. Shetland News currently has over 600 supporters who are all making small voluntary financial contributions. All funds go towards covering our cost and improving the service further.
Your contribution will ensure Shetland News can: -
- Bring you the headlines as they happen;
- Stay editorially independent;
- Give a voice to the community;
- Grow site traffic further;
- Research and publish more in-depth news, including more Shetland Lives features.
If you appreciate what we do and feel strongly about impartial local journalism, then please become a supporter of Shetland News by either making a single payment or monthly subscription.
Support us from as little as £3 per month – it only takes a minute to sign up. Thank you.