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Letters / Time for the SNP to support local fishermen

The SNP has lost the plot; it is time to support Scottish interests.

While Restore Scotland advocates Scottish waters for the exclusive use of local boats, the SNP want to sign fishing away by re-entering the EU and the Commons Fisheries Policy.

They have spent years criticising the Tories for selling fishing out, now they want to do the same.  They are just shame-faced hypocrites on this issue!

The chief executive of the Scottish Fishermen’s Federation Elspeth MacDonald pointed out that the Scottish fleet had not derived much benefit from the previous EU-Norway agreement which came at a considerable cost to Scottish fishing.

Shetland Fishermen’s Association chief officer Simon Collins said: “This bring a long-awaited end to past practice in which the EU used to hand substantial amounts of Scottish quota to Norway largely to the benefit of a single foreign multinational that claimed to be English.”

The First Minister ended up backing the stand of UK Fisheries Ltd, a multinational majority-owned by foreign interests, in particular Icelandic.

So busy scoring a cheap Brexit point, she neglected to support local fishermen.

Before Brexit, the EU was supposedly on our side, but now the EU is a foreign player and should be treated as such.

Simon Collins also said ’in practical terms, Norway’s loss of access to our waters this year will remove a substantial presence of their pelagic fleet during the autumn mackerel fishery in particular’.

So, the Scottish fleet will not have access to the Norwegian EEZ, but it also means that Norwegian vessels will not be fishing in Scottish waters in 2021, which means those fish are there to be caught by local boats, a result rather than a failure.

There is the hope that mutually advantageous annual agreements on access and quota transfers can be struck with Norway in the future, but Norway, and others, has to understand that agreements will not be to the detriment of Scottish businesses.

We are out of the EU, time for the SNP to realise the situation has changed and come alongside with local fishermen.

Brian Nugent
Shetland candidate for Restore Scotland

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