1st October 2016
Established 1872. Online since 1996.

Fishermen upbeat after EU vote opens door for leaving institution

Leave-supporting fishermen have spoken of their delight and positivity after Britons voted to leave the EU.

Gary Smith is skipper of the whitefish trawler Devotion. From a fishing point of view he said it was the right decision and is positive about the industry.

“The common fisheries policy has been terrible for fishing, forcing British men to dump fish while huge foreign vessels plunder the stocks,” he said.

He admitted UK fishermen were not entirely blameless, having largely taken the law into their own hands with black landings (the landing of over quota fish) in the 1990s and early 2000s, as well as the mass dumping of good fish back to the sea.

“But with a governing body so far removed from reality I feel we had no option, these immoral and illegal acts were done totally unwillingly for survival.

“I believe now more than ever before we need to unite as one voice, everyone agrees that fisheries science is at best a two-year-late guess. That is simply not good enough.

“Surely what we are catching is an indicator of the stocks. And if fish are abundant we should be able to harvest them sustainably and not waste them.”

Mr Smith said restrictive measures were needed, but they had to work.

“We most certainly need restrictive measures, but measures that actually work, not dumping fish or taking back our own territorial waters like Iceland did with no concessions for historic rights or any nonsense like that,” he said.

“Fishing is a natural resource that will keep giving forever, as it has done for thousands of years, if it is properly managed.”

He believed the future of fishing in Shetland was very bright. But he added: “We need to be smart, we need knowledgeable people in charge, not the unelected guy who has never seen a fish, never had a proper job and believes that these crazy restrictions are workable.”

He called for unity, local control and sensible restrictions.

“If we have these three things the outlook is very, very good,” he said.

While Magnie Stewart is no longer involved in fishing he had 30 years involvement in the industry.

He said Britain leaving the EU was “an ideal opportunity to set things right”.

He added there needed to be discussions between fishing representatives and discussions with Nicola Sturgeon about the SNP’s plans.

“I think it’s a positive thing,”he said.

“It gives Britain its 200-mile limit and when we go into fishing negotiations we will be sitting as a single entity rather than as part of the EU, so we can speak to Norway and Faroe and Iceland on a one-to-one basis.”

Mr Stewart said there was going to be a lot of uncertainty “until who governs the country gets sorted out”.

He said there needed to be meetings with whoever was going to be the fisheries minister.

When it came to catching fish, he said there had to be controls in place. “Fishermen are clever enough to see how things need to be if politicians listen to them,” said Mr Stewart.

He said the “main priority” was for fishermen’s representatives to meet with Ms Sturgeon to find out her intentions.

“If she takes us back into the European Union, and there’s an independence referendum then bang goes our 200-mile limit and we’re back to where we started.”

Scottish Fishermen’s Association pelagic committee chairman David Hutchison said the leave vote meant a great opportunity for the fishing industry.

“I voted to leave. I think most fishermen did, and I think if you look back most fishermen were against the setting up of the Scottish parliament in the first place.

“They voted against independence and they voted for leaving the EU, so they are hardly going to support an independent Scottish government within the EU.

“We’ve had some meetings and it’s certainly not changed our views.”

He added: “I can’t see it making much difference to the quota allocations immediately but we should get our fishing limits back.”

Mr Hutchison said all EU countries and Norway and Faroe were fishing extensively in British waters.

“I’m scared that Nicola Sturgeon and her blind independence policy … they are going to take their eye off the ball and miss a great opportunity for the fishing, and maybe even worse than that they give away more fish to please Brussels.”

AboutAdam Guest

Reporter for The Shetland Times. I have also worked as a senior news reporter at The Press and Journal, The Barnsley Chronicle and as a freelance reporter for The Doncaster Free Press. Alongside news reporting I specialise in music and sports journalism. Pork pie lover.

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14 comments

  1. David Spence

    ‘ taking back our own territorial waters ‘

    I am intrigued as to what gives Britain the right to claim 200 mile fishing limits, when in reality, it is only 3 miles out from the British Coast?? I understand when Britain was part of the EU, this limit was 15 miles (3 local+12 EU I believe?).

    I fully agree that fishing stocks would have to be monitored quite regularly, but how this is going to be achieved is questionable……….especially if it is there is no international/European Agreement, and what countries (if any) will pay for this?

    I admit, my knowledge of this is very limited indeed, but as a basic observation, I cannot see how Britain leaving the EU, will benefit British Fishermen greater in an industry which could collapse within a few years if monitoring is not strictly adhered too by ALL countries fishing these waters.

    Reply
  2. John Tulloch

    Really excellent article by Adam. It’s about tIme actual fishermen had a say.

    Shetland and for that matter, Scotland, will do significantly better outside the EU with access to the European Economic Area (EEA) which confers all the benefits of full EU membership but allows retention of national sovereignty in other areas such as law/regulation and crucially, control of fishing grounds.

    Norway and Iceland currently enjoy those benefits with a deal that is clearly superior to any available to Scotland, joining the EU as a full member.

    Reply
    • Carl Pickard

      The views expressed by fishermen in this article (and, as ever, John Tulloch’s comments) are utterly, totally delusional.

      A significant point worth bearing in mind – the EU debate is not all about the fishing industry. It’s about being an open, outward-looking, diverse, inclusive, tolerant, welcoming and fundamentally decent society.

      Reply
      • Ali Inkster

        So I guess you think the people of Iceland, Greenland, Faroe and Norway are none of these things as they all choose to remain outside the EU. As ever the rantings of the remainiacs are just that rantings.

      • john ridland

        You should try living in middle/northen england for a few years,
        After that see if you still have the same point of view…!!!!

  3. Daisy Leask

    This is ludicrous.
    Fish are going extinct, it’s estimated by 2050 they will be gone.
    Oh great, lets leave the EU on the grounds of better profits for fishing because materialistic pieces of paper, numbers on a screen are worth more than staying united.
    This world is at a tipping point and people are too unaware, they’re too blinded by the blinkers that shy our minds and focuses away from the issues that are affecting this world. This entire world.

    “When the Last Tree Is Cut Down, the Last Fish Eaten, and the Last Stream Poisoned, You Will Realize That You Cannot Eat Money”

    Reply
    • Ali Inkster

      Oh dear god is this what we have to contend with. Fish are not going extinct and the sky is not falling on our heads.

      Reply
  4. David Spence

    It has been estimated since the 1970’s, 42% of all life has been made extinct due to human activity.

    The main source of this devastation has been due to the human-made concept of money, wealth and greed (regardless to the cost to life and the planet).

    It is also estimated by the year 2050, the ice at the North Pole will completely disappear, which will have serious weather and sea current consequences, affecting global weather and sea patterns.

    But why should we care, as long as we have money in our pockets, and the few are rich well beyond their means………………….Mother Nature has no priority when it comes to monetary values.

    Reply
  5. Haydn Gear

    David, humans have the ability to be very clever and also very stupid. It is well nigh impossible for the clever ones to convince the stupid ones just how stupid they are so we are left with a huge gulf of fear and uncertainty. Further to that of course is that Nature will ultimately follow its own path leaving one to wonder just how effective the efforts of the clever ones can ever be. It’s a conundrum which can be argued about for ever and a day. I’ve read that more life forms have become extinct than those which currently exist. So how steep and slippery is the slope?

    Reply
  6. ian tinkler

    “It has been estimated since the 1970’s, 42% of all life has been made extinct due to human activity.” Manifest nonsense David Spence. Nematodes are the greatest mass of life on Earth. They will be around long after humanity has gone. Wherever do you find your information, David? Just what do you define as life ? are you meaning species or biomass? Are you including animals? Plants, Bacteria Virus, Fungi etc. ?Please reference your fact source , sounds a bit Lunny Green to me?

    Reply
  7. ian tinkler

    Haydn Gear, you are very welcome to view my Facebook pages. They are open to all. who knows we may have more in common than you ever imagined. The Usk was the first river I ever fished.

    Reply
  8. Haydn Gear

    Thanks Ian. I have a feeling you are probably right. The Usk still flows but more and more illegal fishing is taking place, so the occasional large log has to be sent downriver from the Crickhowell vicinity to rip away fine nets stretched across the river. This all happens at night of course. It’s amazing what poachers get up to.

    Reply
  9. Robin Stevenson

    Part of a very interesting analysis from ‘Business for Scotland’:

    “Remember the old war movies when the soldiers were pinned down in a foxhole losing the battle and then something gets thrown in with them? There were usually two seconds of silence then someone shouted GRENADE! Yup in economic terms that’s Brexit and remember the mug that always throws himself on the grenade to save his comrades, well in this scenario Westminster thinks that’s Scotland’s job. We export far more than the rest of the UK on a per head basis, our population is not growing at the same rate so we need skilled EU migrants, we get far more in EU grants per head than the rest of the UK and the first sector Westminster will sacrifice to get a better EU trade deal is the Scottish fishing sector. Leaving the EU will hurt the UK economy but it could crucify Scotland’s”.

    Ouch!… How was it the UK government used to regard the Scottish fishing industry again?.. Oh! yes.. ‘Expendable’,… And the poor souls thinks that they’ve miraculously changed…. ☹

    http://www.businessforscotland.co.uk/brexit-hammers-uk-economy-eu-remarkably-resilient-scotlands-exports-risk-without-independence/

    Reply
  10. ian tinkler

    “Leaving the EU will hurt the UK economy but it could crucify Scotland’s”. A bit of truth at last from Robin Stevenson and ‘Business for Scotland’. So after nine long years of SNP stewardship, Scotish business is too frail to survive outwith Europe!! What an extraordinary admission of SG/SNP incompetence. As three-quarters of Scotland’s trade is within the UK how could Scotland hope to survive Independent of the Uk? It is a real shame if Scotland has become so dependant EU grants and Barnett money that its business and trade has been allowed to sink so low. It is good of Robin and Business Scotland to highlight that, a bit of truth at last and as yet no blame put on Westminster, another first..

    Reply

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