Sacrificing the fishing? (Magnie Stewart)

Following the people of the United Kingdom voting to leave the European Union, control of the UK’s fishing limits, and control of the fishing of the stocks within these limits, returns to the UK Parliament.

Two weeks ago, in The Shetland Times, Scottish National Party fisheries spokesman Fergus Ewing told us that the SNP would not allow the UK government to sell Scottish fishermen “down the water” as part of the Brexit negotiations. He was backed by the Shetland branch of the SNP. So far, so good.

Now comes the tricky bit. According to First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, a second Scottish independence referendum will be called if she does not like the Brexit deal (she won’t, even if it is gold plated in favour of Scotland) and it results in the people of Scotland being “dragged” out of the EU against their will.

Should the SNP win the second independence referendum, Scotland will still be outside the EU and would have to apply to join. Sturgeon, in her negotiating terms, is already quoted as saying: “Would Spanish, French and Portuguese fishermen want to be blocked from fishing the lucrative waters in Scotland’s sectors of the North Sea and West Atlantic.”

This, to me, sounds very much like the SNP is prepared to do “a Heath” and sell Scotland’s fishermen “down the water” and sacrifice them back to the mercies of the “deeply flawed” CFP.

However, Sturgeon’s assessment is totally irrelevant. If an independent Scotland is successful in gaining access to the EU – by no means a foregone conclusion – then it has to accept the terms of the Acquis Communautaire (the EU body of law) which contains the real CFP of equal access to a common resource.

Magnie Stewart


Add Your Comment
  • i tinkler

    • November 2nd, 2016 11:05

    AS previously was written, what price SNP Independence? “SNP Shetland convener Robbie McGregor and new press officer Iain Malcolmson calling for the SG/SNP to have devolved control of EU negotiations over the fishing industry “to protect Shetland fishing”. One thing which must be utterly apparent to all is that the SG/SNP has no wish whatsoever to leave the EU and would go to any lengths to maintain that unhappy union. That would clearly maintain the status quo with the EU fleets left to continue plundering Shetland and UK fishing grounds. Judging from the appearance of SNP Shetland convener Robbie McGregor and Iain Malcolmson having a great laugh together. Such a shame if that is at the expense of Shetland fishermen!”

  • Michael Grant

    • November 2nd, 2016 18:22

    I have no doubt that Theresa May’s Brexit “negotiators” would be perfectly willing to trade away our fishing rights at a moment’s notice in return for concessions from the EU.

    • John Tulloch

      • November 2nd, 2016 19:12

      At least, by your logic, Westminster will “trade them away”, which means the UK will get something in return. The SNP are going to give them away for nothing, as the Common Fisheries Policy is an inescapable condition of EU membership – if you want to join, they take your fish. End of..

      • Robin Stevenson

        • November 19th, 2016 16:10

        Another brilliant deduction from you there John, I must say!… You tell us:

        “At least, by your logic, Westminster will “trade them away”, which means the UK will get something in return”.

        Pray tell us, what exactly has this “something in return” EVER returned to date to benefit Shetland or indeed Scotland, since 1973?… So basically we have 40 year history of our UK government ‘returning’ absolutely nothing, and yet here’s you on here telling us that the Scottish government are somehow ‘going to give it all away for nothing?”.. Which is rather strange considering it has always been ‘given away’ to benefit London & the South East? But by your logic, that’s preferable than benefitting Scotland?.. I didn’t realize how much you detested the country you reside in?

        Anyway, here’s a wee example of just how our loving and caring UK government appreciate their ‘equal partner’ [ha ha] neighbour…. Oh! and it might finally enlighten you as to how Jo Grimond managed to get his ‘special deal!…Enjoy!

      • Ali Inkster

        • November 20th, 2016 1:00

        Dear o me when I want advice on the fishing I doot I’ll no be asking a weegie hairdresser

      • Robin Stevenson

        • November 21st, 2016 20:08


        I’m not giving you advice on ‘the fishing’…. I’m simply pointing out how the fishing industry through the decades has been used as a bargaining chip by consecutive UK governments. I’m simply pointing out how it will STILL be used as a bargaining chip on behalf of London bankers to remain within the single market. …

        Poor John is under the delusion that ‘ALL of a sudden’ our UK government will start to play fair with Scotland’s fishing industry after Brexit…. But rather than accept the inevitable underhanded UK deal, he’s desperately trying to blame the Scottish government for what they ‘MIGHT’ do. And regardless of what they end up doing, it’s – somehow – going to be even worse to retain ALL of our fishing revenue in Scotland instead of sending the lot to London?.. Truly bizarre?….. Yip!.

        I posted a wee video hoping to point out just how the UK government regard Scotland as a whole, and how they’ve always regarded the SNP as a threat to their ‘cash cow’. Naturally the powers that be, tried to ban this documentary. Could I suggest that you too may at least attempt to have your blinkers removed? ????

  • Gordon Harmer

    • November 3rd, 2016 8:29

    No change planned by SNP for Scottish quota system

    The way fisheries quotas are allocated will remain unchanged once the devolution of new fisheries powers is confirmed, Scotland’s Cabinet Secretary for the Rural Economy Fergus Ewing has announced.

    Speaking at the Scottish Fishermen’s Federation Dinner tonight, Mr Ewing confirmed his intention to provide the industry with stability by maintaining existing allocations through the Fixed Quota Allocation (FQA) system.

    Mr Ewing said:
    “In the face of uncertainty and a lack of leadership from the UK Government, I can confirm that by maintaining fisheries quotas we will provide much-needed stability. We believe this is the right way to encourage investment in new vessels and ensure the sustainability of the sector.”

    “This underlines why we must have new powers over our share of UK quotas. We cannot tolerate a situation where our quotas can be exported out of Scotland, and ultimately lost to future generations.
    “The new Concordat, which I hope to see published soon, will enhance our control and ensure we can protect quotas.”

    “Fishermen have made their opposition to EU membership known, but as Scotland’s fishing champion it’s important I voice my concerns about the consequences of leaving the EU, and losing both a market and a source of vital funding. The sector also relies hugely on thousands of EU workers who need certainty that they are welcome to stay here.”

    “Our priority continues to be pursuing all options to protect Scotland’s relationship with the EU as nearly half a billion pounds worth of seafood is exported to Europe and I am committed to ensuring our interests are at the heart of any Brexit decisions or discussions about fishing.”

    He added that The Scottish Government will also work to make it easier for new businesses to acquire smaller bundles of quota allocation units.

    The need to reach agreement on a new fisheries management Concordat with the other three UK fisheries administrations means it has only now been possible for the Scottish Government to finalise plans, following the consultation on quota allocations in 2014.

    Once Scotland receives new powers in the Concordat, expected shortly, it will put in place rules that only allow quotas to move from a Scottish to a non-Scottish licence when Scottish vessels permanently move to operate in another part of the UK.

  • John Tulloch

    • November 17th, 2016 10:38

    Douglas Young has just gleefully imparted to me that fishing hasn’t been mentioned once in the House of Commons during the four months since Brexit (ergo, Westminster is going to give it away).

    Isn’t it shocking that with 54 out of 59 Scottish MPs, the SNP hasn’t been fighting Scotland’s corner at Westminster – perhaps, they consider fishing to be “expendable”?

    • ian_tinkler

      • November 17th, 2016 14:30

      SNP MSPs have one consuming aim, “Nationalism”. That means opposition to everything imaginable at Westminster, without thought or reason. The welfare of Scottish fishermen and representing their interests simply is not on the agenda or worth a passing comment or mention during debate.


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