23rd September 2017

MSP warns of dangers for fishing in Brexit negotiations

MSP Maree Todd has warned that Scottish fishing communities will have their interests bartered away by the UK government in their Brexit negotiations.

Speaking in a Scottish Parliament debate on sea fisheries and endyear negotiations, Ms Todd praised the contribution of Scotland’s fishing communities but was concerned that they would be considered ‘expendable’ by the UK government during Brexit negotiations.

She said: “I do not doubt that there should be opportunities for fishing postBrexit but, like many in my community, I fear that the UK Government will once again consider the industry to be expendable and barter away our interests.

MSP Maree Todd

MSP Maree Todd

“Are we expected to believe that fishing rights in Scottish waters will take precedence over passporting arrangements for London’s financial sector?”

Ms Todd praised fisheries minister Fergus Ewing MSP for his record on standing up for Scottish industry and expressed her confidence that he would achieve the best deal for Scottish fishing in the endyear negotiations

“He [Fergus Ewing MSP] stood up for Scottish steel as Minister for Energy, Enterprise and Tourism and, more recently, he stood up and protected the workers at Fort William aluminium smelter during the sale by Rio Tinto. I have no doubt that he will ensure that our fishing industry gets the best possible deal from any negotiation.

Ms Todd also criticised the UK Government for failing to include island wind power in the forthcoming contracts for difference auction as a “complete betrayal of island communities.

Her comments came during a parliamentary debate on renewables where she criticised the UK government’s energy policy in comparison with the policy of the Scottish Government.

“We have a tale of two Governments. While the Scottish Government sets ambitious targets and drives innovation, the UK Government has made U turns on promises and failed to deliver a route to market.

“In the latest announcement of contracts for difference, the UK Government has put off a decision about how to provide connection capacity for projects that are sited on Scotland’s islands; failed to ring fence funding for the wave and tidal sectors; and left onshore wind and solar in limbo, without any contractual framework to support longterm investment, although they are the cheapest of any form of electricity.

“It is wholly wrong for the Tories to pass off what is happening as an honest consultation on island wind. They are consulting on a negative proposition, and the people on the islands recognise that it is a complete betrayal of island communities.

Ms Todd has been a strong critic of the decision on Contracts for Difference, having already lodged a parliamentary motion, and asked a question of the First Minister on the subject.

About Peter Johnson

Reporter for The Shetland Times. I have also worked as an employed and freelance reporter and editor for a variety of print and broadcast media outlets and as as a freelance photographer and film maker/cameraman. In addition to journalism, I have experience in construction, oil analysis, aquaculture, fisheries, the health service and oral history.

View other stories by »

12 comments

  1. John Tulloch

    Hogwash! Complete and utter humbug!

    1. The Scottish government wants to stay in the EU. If successful, Scottish fishing will remain under the Common Fisheries Policy.

    2. Why on earth would any Westminster force English and Welsh consumers to pay 2-3 times the price of conventional energy for island renewables PLUS “£1.3 billion” of necessary additional grid reinforcement PLUS the cost of standby fossil fuel plant to cover times when there is no wind? When England is replete with shale gas and oil?

    Simply to bankroll Scottish independence?

    Will an independent SNP Scottish government force Scottish consumers to pick up this bill? Will they heckerslike!

    Reply
    • Robin Stevenson

      You seem to be arguing with yourself here John?

      You tell us:

      “1. The Scottish government wants to stay in the EU. If successful, Scottish fishing will remain under the Common Fisheries Policy”.

      Which is true, they do, so which part is ‘hogwash?.. You also forgot to mention that it would be ‘Scottish’ ministers that would be fighting for the ‘Scottish’ fishing industry, and re-negotiating Scotland’s position, not some Burlington Lord prepared to bargain it away [AGAIN] for their own selfish reasons.

      As far as your 2nd question goes, you could easily ask:

      “2. Why on earth would any Westminster force Scotland to pay £Billions per year on HS2, trident, illegal wars, interest on £1.7 Trillion National debt, HoL, London infrastructure, VAT on our fire/Police, £millions pa to ‘GIVE’ the National grid our electricity etc?

      Because…. They can!…. Meanwhile, of course, we’ve got people like yourself squabbling over crumbs.

      Reply
      • John Tulloch

        If Scotland stays in the EU or rejoins as an independent country, there will be no negotiation over the fishing.

        The CFP is part of the body of EU law – the “Acquis Communautaire” which is not negotiable.

        So the basic premise of your argument is “hogwash”, since you ask.

      • John Tulloch

        The more money spent in England and Wales, the more money comes to Holyrood via the Barnett Formula.

        If Westminster is as misanthropic as you suggest, that simply reinforces my point that they won’t permit English and Welsh consumers to pay such eye-watering prices for energy, just to underwrite the SNP’s economic prospectus for independence.

        If Westminster won’t agree, is it SNP policy that, if elected with independence, they would force Scots consumers to foot the bill for the island renewables boondoggle? (Hint: I wouldn’t, either).

      • i tinkler

        Regarding your question about Westminster, Robin Stevenson, Scotland had a free vote in 2014 and the population decided they wanted to be part of the UK, that means Westminster, warts and all. Strange is it not, all recent polls suggest they Scotland still does. Now regarding Europe, a free vote of all the UK was for out. Regarding Shetland, you just watch this space! Frightened of democracy?, the SNP appears to be. Strange how you SNP boys, change your tune at the thought of Shetland breaking ties with Scotland, when your sole raison d’etre appears something entirely founded on division , at so so many levels.

    • John Jamieson

      You say that the Scottish government wants to stay in the EU. If successful, Scottish fishing will remain under the Common Fisheries Policy.
      Given that the EU fleet catches more fish in UK waters than our own fleet, if they are denied access to our waters the remaining EU countries will have to renegotiated their CFP from scratch, that there few if any Tory seats in the fishing industry constituencies, an enormous amount of time and effort will be required to dismantle the CFP, including transition arrangements for decommissioning, providing compensation packages and withdrawing the fleets from each others waters, is it not possible that the UK and EU will decide that the solution is to convert the present CFP into a post Brexit bilateral UK/EU treaty ?
      There are several advantages to this, the UK will not have to compensate the EU for loss of trade, the EU will not face a serious reduction in its fish landings and protracted and difficult rengotiation of the CFP,
      Scotland will probably be taken out of the EU on Brexit but Scottish fishing my remain under the Common Fisheries Policy after Brexit.

      Reply
      • David Spence

        Hi John, I am intrigued as to what is regarded as ‘ UK Waters ‘, and what this will mean under an either soft or hard Brexit?

        I also think, like in 1974, the Shetland and Scottish Fishing will be ‘ expendable ‘ and the Brexit lot will not give it much emphasis on this matter.

        I also believe, if the fishing industry was left upto itself to regulate itself, then what fishing stocks there are will be further depleted to a point where there are no fish at all. This being, primarily, on the ‘ Quick Buck method mentality ‘.

        I do not think the UK, has the right to dictate to other countries what fishing ground limits the UK should have in proportion to what other EU countries may also want. Brexit, in short, I feel, will do more damage than good to the Scottish and Shetland Fishing industries.

        The EU, may have its faults, but who else is going to preserve stocks and keep an industry going without quota’s (look at Norway) and banning fishing at certain times of the year being in place…………certainly not the UK Fishing Industry itself. As said Quick Buck Mentality

      • John Jamieson

        David Spence. Would the area in which the UK controlled fishing before joining the EU be a reasonable definition of what is called UK waters.
        Yesterday the chancellor Philip Hammond suggested that a transitional trade deal covering more than two years would be needed for a smooth exit from the EU.
        The SFF is probably the only body outside of politics that would raise objections.
        What better candidate could there be for a transitional trade deal than the Common Fishing Policy ?
        It would not be the first time that the Scottish fishing industry has been used as an expendable bargaining object in UK/EU negotiations.

      • David Spence

        Read this John

        First, the idea that fish in British waters have been fished into near-extinction by pesky foreign boats simply doesn’t match up with reality. At least not anymore.

        Since EU policy was reformed in 2002, the health of many fish stocks has improved. By 2011 the majority of assessed fisheries were considered to be sustainably fished.

        The EU is phasing out the discarding of unwanted fish and setting quotas more in line with scientific advice. The aim to ensure maximum sustainable yield of all stocks by 2020.

        Ownership of UK fishing quotas is controversial and often misunderstood. After total EU fishing limits are decided by the Council of fisheries ministers, it is up to each member state to distribute its share among its own fleet.

        This is not an EU decision. The fact that a single giant Dutch-owned vessel nets a quarter of the English quota (6% of the UK total) might be shocking, especially considering the UK’s quota is in theory shared between more than 6,000 vessels, but the UK government could easily change how it allocates fish. In fact, the alternative allocation systems suggested by some pro-Brexit groups are already in place elsewhere in Europe.

  2. i tinkler

    A really, really good reason for Shetland autonomy and endorsing “Wir Shetland”. Has MSP Maree Todd ever spent time on Shetland and asked the views of local folk? How can she talk for us? When did she ever set foot on the West Side? Has a single SNP/MSP ever? There surely must be some?

    Reply
    • Robin Stevenson

      Surely even YOU remember when Nicola came up to Lerwick in April this year Ian?.. Remember when you and WIR Shetland had a million questions that needed to be answered and yet when she arrived for her visit and her Q&A session for local concerns, WIR Shetland Boycotted it?..

      So really, is the question not really: What difference to you does it make how many SNP MP’s MSPs visit Shetland when you’re just going to run away anyway?… lol ????

      Reply
      • Gordon Harmer

        Surely even you remember Robin, Nicola was electioneering in April this year, just before the massive majority of the Shetland electorate told her she did not represent them. More than likely because we are well used to broken SNP promises, many of which are still raining down on us. One especially painful broken promise on fair ferry fares was made by a visiting SNP MSP, a perfect example of why anyone should boycott Q&A sessions from the party of division and fiction.

Your Comment

Please note, it is the policy of The Shetland Times to publish comments and letters from named individuals only. Both forename and surname are required.

Comments are moderated. Contributors must observe normal standards of decency and tolerance for the opinions of others.

The views expressed are those of contributors and not of The Shetland Times.

The Shetland Times reserves the right to decline or remove any contribution without notice or stating reason.

Comments are limited to 200 words but please email longer articles or letters to editorial@shetlandtimes.co.uk for consideration and include a daytime telephone number and your address. If emailing information in confidence please put "Not for publication" in both the subject line and at the top of the main message.