How many more turns? (John Tulloch)

Only a week ago Conservative MEP Ian Duncan was telling us how, with support from colleagues, he had intervened to delay implementation of the impending cod discard ban – a U-turn by the EU’s fisheries committee – and an impressive achievement.

However, it seems the spirit of Laurel and Hardy lives on in Brussels, for yesterday the Fishing News reported that the fisheries committee had executed a second U-turn, quashing Mr Duncan’s amendment.

Frantic efforts were reportedly under way to obtain a third 180-degree course change to convert the EU’s “S-turn” into a “W-turn”. If successful, who is to say there will not follow a fourth reversal?

On 20th December, five days before Christmas, our fishermen do not know whether the cod discard ban will be enforced on 1st January 2016.

Is there no end to the EU’s folly?

Interesting, too, that Shetland Fishermen’s Association (SFA), reaffirming commitment to Brussels, has hired a young Spanish woman to pilot them through the narrow, treacherous channels of the pork barreling EU monster.

We wish the SFA’s initiative success but have our doubts. For every expert we hire, opponents will hire another, maintaining the “stalemate”.

Hiring ever more champions to tilt at EU bureaucrats is ultimately futile. Shetland needs control of its own fishing grounds and needs it now.

Of course, we should co-operate with our EU and Scandinavian neighbours. However, it follows that we need our own seat at the table when the extent of that co-operation is discussed.

For example, SFA chief Simon Collins has described the current pelagic fishery negotiations as “hopelessly skewed” in favour of our Scandinavian neighbours. That is so because the EU represents us, not our own negotiators.

Worse, UK and Scottish ministers have failed, repeatedly, to defend Shetland’s vital interests. Fishermen routinely refer to Scottish fisheries minister Richard Lochead (SNP) as “blockheid”.

Two ways exist to escape this lunacy:
1. Britain could demand an end to the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP);
2. The UK might vote to leave the EU.

Who knows what may unfold. However, with self-rule Shetland would be able to emulate our Scandinavian neighbours by leaving the EU.

Wir Shetland needs strong support from residents. We already have more members than any of Shetland’s political parties and are continuing our recruitment drive with a presentation at Symbister Hall in Whalsay on Monday 21st December (7pm to 9pm), including our views on school closures and ferry subsidies/services, as well as fisheries management.

John Tulloch
Wir Shetland


Add Your Comment
  • john flett

    • December 20th, 2015 21:45

    Re eu fishing quotas,why are the Faroe islands 80m + trawlers on the west side of Shetland as we read en mass 20 12 15 ,,they are not in the eu as far as I know, and why are uk s boats tied up by days at sea rules that dont apply to the Faroes,as if Norways 150mtr trawlers were not enough competition,can you enlighten me please ?

    • Ali Inkster

      • December 21st, 2015 9:50

      The simple answer is the Faroes had Faroese negotiators fighting their corner. Shetland has EU negotiators working for god knows who. Better aff clear o da lot o dem.

    • John Flett

      • February 1st, 2016 12:56

      Just discovered that the sanctions on supplying Russia with fish from Scotland/Norway have had the result that Faroes and Chile have filled that gap ,and guess from which waters the fish are being taken from ? also fills in the puzzle as to why factory trawler ships were going to Chile, when they were not from that country,

  • iantinkler

    • December 21st, 2015 11:06

    I know little of fishing, but have had the privilege of treating many Shetland fishermen over the years. One thing is certain, the EU, SG and UK put the Shetland fishing industry and welfare right at the bottom of the table. Look to Faroe from the “Cod Wars” onwards to see how a community can fight, stand its ground and fight for its own interests. I am not totally convinced the “Shetland Fishermen’s Association” with its somewhat bland and dare I say, passive response, to recent events is not serving Shetlanders and their fishing industry with much distinction . I would advise fisherman to fight for their industry with great dynamism, look seriously at “Wir Shetland”. That way your voice cannot be ignored and you will grasp the power to control destiny of your own industry.

    • Ray Purchase

      • December 30th, 2015 10:33

      I know little of dentistry but I have teeth and I go to the dentist once a year, so that makes me fully qualified to comment on what is best for dentists in Shetland. The Scottish Government have increased the number of dentists in the country hugely since the SNP got into power and 1.8million more people have registered with NHS dentists now than when they took power. As the average wage for a NHS dentist is £90k a year – with some earning up to £300k – all dentists must love the SNP and vote for them. Obviously, this could only get better after independence, so all dentists should vote yes to Scottish independence next time.

      Dentists should also be in favour of wind farms because they are shiny and white like healthy teeth.

      So, because I’ve got a few facts from the papers and formed an opinion I know best for dentists. Obviously.

      • ian tinkler

        • December 30th, 2015 15:26

        Ray Purchase, A simple fact for you, no NHS General Dental practitioner working in Shetland, not a single one, nor for that matter a NHS practice!!! Shetland Health Board is trying hard to set up an new practice, has been with grant help for five years now not a single UK or Scottish dentist has shown any interest. There may or may not be one in the pipe line but nothing at this time. With regards to my comments on “Shetland Fishermen’s Association”, do not the facts rather not speak for themselves? Do you feel the industry has thrived under the present stewardship, if so why all the moaning? Quite what wind-farms have to do with this rather alludes me. Viking Energy is interesting, mostly due to the fact it does not exist and probably never will!

      • iantinkler

        • December 30th, 2015 18:13

        A further thought for you, Ray Purchase, If the SNP/SG ever manages its proposed interconnector between Shetland and the Scottish mainland, Shetlands Fishermen may have little waters left to fish! The SNP/SG has proposed a 1000 square miles of offshore wind farms for Shetland waters and that is just the initial proposal, powerhouse of Europe is I think the term used. That would really wreck the fishing Industry as well as the marine environment. Strange what reading the newspapers lets you know, trouble is some are too stupid to understand what they are reading and the implication of the same!

      • iantinkler

        • December 30th, 2015 21:57

        Sorry, Ray Purchase, I made a mistake, 2000 square miles of offshore wind farms. Incidentally, your ignorant comment, ” The Scottish Government have increased the number of dentists in the country hugely since the SNP got into power and 1.8million more people have registered with NHS dentists now than when they took power.” Being registered to a NHS dentists, simply means you have been seen by one. I does not give you a hope in hell of decent treatment, that is apart from an emergency extraction, if in severe pain. Great for our children with no front teeth to smile with, join the Wee Alex smile set, too much sugar building that gut pethaps.

    • Ray Purchase

      • December 30th, 2015 21:51

      Ian Tinkler, I’m sure you’ve become an expert on all facets of the fishing industry while listening to people who’s mouths are packed full of cotton wool while you poke about in them with a little Hoover I would suggest that you extend your reading a little past 5 year old articles from the Shetland Times. It will help you keep on the cutting edge so that you can tell everybody what to do. I’d suggest acquainting yourself with the work of Dutch marine biologist Clem Fandango. His work, although in the early stages, has found that offshore wind farms work to the benefit of fishermen. The vibrations put the fish into a kind of trance and make them easier to catch. Works particularly well with blue whiting apparently.

  • John Tulloch

    • December 21st, 2015 13:34

    I’m indebted to Ian Duncan for his clarification of the position on the cod discard ban implementation date.

    I acknowledge my misunderstanding of the Fishing News article and its misleading headline “Landings Obligation Double U-turn Shock”. In the event, the fisheries committee’s second U-turn was a “relief”, not a “shock”.

    However a second U-turn was needed to salvage the situation with only days to go before implementation so my error is inconsequential to the thrust of my letter which is that Shetland fishermen – Mr Duncan excepted – are poorly represented by the EU and the Scottish and UK governments and that Shetland needs control of her own fishing grounds.


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