Shetland Fishermen’s Association executive officer Simon Collins has welcomed the announcement of a fisheries bill outlined in the Queen’s speech on Wednesday morning.
Mr Collins said that the bill for the UK to control access to its waters and set UK fishing quotas once it has left the EU was a huge step forward and could hardly have been improved on from the industry’s point of view.
He added: “We have got a good idea of what the fisheries bill will contain. The government is keen on delivering on what it has promised and the UK is clearly not going to back down.”
Mr Collins said that although there is little detail so far, the important principles of control over access to national waters and the allocation of fishing rights therein had been established.
“Of course quotas will remain to be based on science. The question then is international haggling over who gets what, and we find ourselves in an extremely strong position to extract access.
“It is a very, very positive statement if you like.”
According to Mr Collins, the European Parliament fisheries committee had also received a wake up call from a Spanish layer who had confirmed for them that the UK would reclaim these rights when it leaves the EU.
The committee had earlier agreed that Britain would have to maintain “relative stability”, or the historic share out of fishing rights, if Britain was to have untaxed access to the huge EU market for fisheries.
Mr Collins said that there was no need for great detail in the legislation at the moment as that could be added at a later date. Once Britain was free of the EU then new or amended legislation could be produced much more quickly than under the ponderous system involving decision making by 27 different countries.