As a fisherman and Shetlander the EU in/out referendum is a pretty major event for me and my business.
Without looking too deeply into the pros and cons most fishermen would say that surely leaving the EU would be our best option, but would it?
In recent years the SNP government have shown the fishermen of Scotland that they are most definitely not a pro-fishing party. They are one of the few governments who voted in Europe for monitoring cameras on all fishing vessels. These cameras record all fish caught and those discarded due to lack of quota, not being marketable, or undersized, that would cost millions to set up and monitor.
The SNP have introduced Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) where all bottom trawling or dredging is banned, a pretty devastating thing to do to inshore fishermen and akin to taking the farmers’ land away!
In 2005 the SNP said they wanted out of the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP), actually petitioning the House of Commons for withdrawal. This gained them many votes from the fishing communities of Scotland.
Then they turned on their heels and now want to stay within the EU and work with the CFP. They used our votes to gain power then stab us in the back.
They also introduced closed areas – huge areas of seabed closed off to bottom fishing because of supposed cod abundance in that area. So if other species were present in that area Scottish vessels had to move on while foreign and English vessels fished away, all this happening close to our shores.
I don’t believe any party is pro-fishing but I know the SNP are against us and that is what bothers me about leaving the EU.
With the SNP hell bent on independence and not caring for their fishermen they may well, in the event of them achieving their goal, trade the fishing industry off for re-entry into Europe.
In short, with the events of recent years I would be very worried with the SNP at the helm and in full control of our industry.
After a lot of thought I have decided that I will be voting to leave the EU because I believe we cannot fix the CFP and whoever is in power in Holyrood would be easier to negotiate with than the European Commission.
I will also be voting for Tavish Scott in the Scottish election because he has shown by going to sea on a local fishing vessel a few years ago, that he wants to understand the difficulties of the job and is prepared to go to length to find out what’s going on,
I don’t believe any other candidate has done anything like that before. Tavish also has a real understanding of crofting matters and has got his teeth into the transport costs and reliability issue. For me he is the only one really listening.