24th February 2017

Winning back control (John Tulloch)

Prime Minister Theresa May’s speech on Britain’s EU exit objectives raises concern for the Shetland (and UK) fishing industry.

She specifically mentioned “Spanish fishermen”, along with German exporters and French farmers, etc, as being among those who would suffer in the event of a punitive deal being imposed on Britain.

Mrs May said: “And I do not believe that the EU’s leaders will seriously tell German exporters, French farmers, Spanish fishermen, the young unemployed of the eurozone, and millions of others, that they want to make them poorer, just to punish Britain and make a political point.”

If Britain takes back all fishing rights, Spanish fishermen will suffer, automatically. However, Mrs May’s comment seems to suggest that they will only be worse off if the EU attempts to punish Britain for leaving, thus forcing UK retaliation on, among other things, fishing rights?

Shetland’s fishing industry can only ever be secure by winning irrevocable local control of the fishing grounds.

John Tulloch


  1. John Burns

    Perhaps it is time for the Shetlands and Orkneys to link up with the Isle of Man in a loose confederation, take control of your fisheries and oil money. With a common Celtic and Nordic back ground , you would be singing from the same hymn sheet.
    If Scotland goes for independence after winning the referendum , guess what will be sacrificed to stop the spanish turning down Scotlands application, access to the fishing grounds!
    By linking in with the Isle of Man you could benefit from their long experience of managing their own affairs and finances. Keeping a general link with the rest of the UK would allow free access into the main market for Shetland products. On a defence point of view you could argue for a Royal Navy base and RAF airbase, this would be a major boost to jobs in the long term and you could ensure at least one or two patrol ships to protect your fishing waters.Just food for thought.

    • Aaron Smith

      Dunna keen why we would need or want to get involved with the Isle Of Man?

  2. Gordon Harmer

    There was always going to be some kind of concession over fishing with Spain when we leave the EU, because of Gibraltar. Mrs May made it perfectly clear at PMQs that we would be pulled totally free of the disaster that is the Common Fisheries Policy when we leave the EU. A small concession to Spain will not break the bank especially as it will be a concession which will be there to respect the wish of the People of Gibraltar to stay British. A wish I think we should respect especially as the wishes of the British and Scottish electorate in two referendums are being undermined by antidemocratic factions in Holyrood and Westminster.

  3. David Spence

    I am intrigued John, as to what right does Shetland has to claim any fishing grounds greater than the 3 mile limit they have at the moment without having to negotiate with other countries.

    I very much doubt that the UK, Scotland or Shetland can use the EEZ as a reason to further fishing rights without conflicting with Norway, Iceland, Faroes and EU countries also dependent on fishing.

    I must confess, my knowledge of fishing and the complexities surrounding is very much limited. However, like in 1974, I fear the Conservatives and Theresa May will regard Scottish/Shetland Fishing as expendable. This is, potentially, in light of what could be another Scottish Independence Referendum.

    However, I also think the UK Fishing Industry would not be able to regulate itself, and if it was granted EEZ, fish stocks would vastly decline due to the ‘ quick buck mentality ‘ and the British Fishing Industry’s inability to safeguard and secure fishing rights in international waters. I fear the cost of policing would outweigh the benefits, potentially.

    I would also anticipate Brexit would be damaging to British Fishing on the basis of short-term gain and to hell with the long term consequences.

    • Robin Stevenson

      Your fears have (sadly) taken a step towards becoming the reality, David, everyone and their granny tried to tell poor trusting (and somewhat gullible) Mr Tulloch that the Scottish fishing industry would be used once again as a bargaining chip by Mays government to get concessions with the EU to benefit London, much as they did back in the 70’s.

      One does wonder, how often people like Oor John here, need the proverbial ‘kick in the teeth’ by our UK government before they finally realise they’re being taken for chumps?

      Brexit white paper:

      8.16 In 2015, EU vessels caught 683,000 tonnes (£484 million revenue) in UK waters and
      UK vessels caught 111,000 tonnes (£114 million revenue) in Member States’ waters.51 Given
      the heavy reliance on UK waters of the EU fishing industry and the importance of EU waters
      to the UK, it is in both our interests to reach a mutually beneficial deal that works for the UK
      and the EU’s fishing communities. Following EU exit, we will want to ensure a sustainable
      and profitable seafood sector and deliver a cleaner, healthier and more productive marine

      • John Tulloch

        @Robin Stevenson,

        That is a lie. I have never said anything other than that neither government can be trusted with the fishing and have provided many referenced rebuttals of your repeated false claims in the past. From my last letter to the media before the EU referendum:

        “It’s true that, should Britain leave, Shetland’s interests would still be at risk. Neither Holyrood nor Westminster may be trusted to protect them. Only we can do that…etc…..”.


      • ian_tinkler

        Robin Stevenson, are you so ill informed, ignorant or just plain stupid so as not to know, John Tulloch, has never made any claim towards trusting the UK Government with Shetland’s fishing? Just a very simple fact for you, if Shetland fishermen want to be clear of the CFP, in an Independent Scotland as a member of the EU, they will be tied to the CFP by the soft and squashy bits for eternity, outside the EU, at least the position is negotiable. With full Shetland autonomy, then Shetland will control its own waters.

      • Robin Stevenson

        Oh! DO give me peace about how you never advocated a UK government over a Scottish government John. ….Who did you choose to be your UK affiliated political party spokesperson for WIR?…. Tavish Scott…… Who does he represent?…. Lib/Dems….. Where’s their head office and who do they take their orders from?….. London.

        So please spare me the nonsense about “we don’t trust either government”,… Of course you do, you’ve made your decision, they have (once again) sold your fishing industry out, the sad part is, you STILL don’t get it? Whether you choose Labour, Tory or Lib/Dems is irrelevavant, they are ALL the same party of different colours, The ‘establishment’,…All three of these Westminster parties will do everything in their power to retain control, much like your wee Shetland miniscule oil fund, you’ve been played like an old fiddle… if it wasn’t so sad it’d be laughable.

        You, Ian. and a couple of others, doing the dirty work on behalf of the establishment…. Well done, one and all!

  4. John thorburn

    On past experience I know who I would trust and it’s certainly not the EU, (I was a partner in a processing factory in Eyemouth) so I do have some first hand experience. Also in all the years we were processing I would still trust our UK boats to look after the long term longetivity of fish stocks. I remember in the Nineties getting samples of frozen Spanish H&G cod ( headed and gutted) they were obviously either close to the size limit or under size. Also I took a photo of French caught cod being landed into containers although they where headed they where definitely undersize. So I’m amused that we think that all the EU foreign boats will have changed to being upright citizens.

    Well bye Shetlanders “I’m hauding my wheesht and keeping my ane council” as Grandad Johnny from Fisherrow would say. I hope everything works out fishy wise for all you folks, remember the oil won’t last forever.


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