19th November 2018
Established 1872. Online since 1996.

Fishermen’s leader slams ‘feeble’ Brexit negotiating efforts

Scottish fishing chiefs have blasted plans for UK fisheries during the transition period out of the EU – with a Shetland representative describing the negotiations as “feeble”.

On Monday the EU and Britain agreed a draft Brexit transition deal which will mean Britain will follow EU fishing regulations during the transition period.

The UK will also only be able to consult on changes to fishing rules and will be consulted on fishing changes affecting the UK in that period.

The deal was to be rubber-stamped this week and the transition period will end on New Year’s Day 2020.

Scottish Fishermen’s Federation chief executive Bertie Armstrong said the announcement fell “far short of an acceptable deal”.

“We will leave the EU and leave the CFP [Common Fisheries Policy], but hand back sovereignty over our seas a few seconds later. Our fishing communities’ fortunes will still be subject to the whim and largesse of the EU for another two years.

“Put simply, we do not trust them to look after us. So we issue this warning to the EU: be careful what you do or the consequences later will be severe. To our politicians we say this: some have tried to secure a better deal but our governments have let us down.

“As a consequence, we expect a written, cast-iron guarantee that after the implementation period, sovereignty will mean sovereignty and we will not enter into any deal which gives any other nation or the EU continued rights of access or quota other than those negotiated as part of the annual Coastal States negotiations.”

Shetland Fishermen’s Association executive officer Simon Collins – negotiating stance leaves the industry “very vulnerable”.

Shetland Fishermen’s Association chief Simon Collins said the government had also handed control of British waters straight back to the EU.

“It leaves us very vulnerable,” he said.

“It says we are consulted, but it it’s a long way from sovereignty.”

Mr Collins said Britain would be consulted “on what we can catch in our own waters in that period”, and “as far as negotiations go, it’s pretty feeble negotiations”.

Politicians had collectively fallen short, he said, and the UK government was going to have to rebuild its trust with the fishing industry.

The Shetland fishing boss said on leaving the EU, under international law, and the UK government’s previous position, the UK would have control of its waters.

The fishing industry had gone from a strong position to a difficult one, he claimed.

“What we need to do as an industry… is to ensure that we get a concrete, written in stone, guarantee that we are leaving in 2020”. That would allow something to plan ahead with, Mr Collins said.

As far as the local industry was concerned, he hoped the impact would be limited.

“It’s as if there’s the first whiff of gun smoke and up goes the white flag. Even if you don’t care about fishing you worry about other things [in the Brexit negotiations].

“It puts us in a very difficult position for the interim period.”

33 comments

  1. Robert Sim

    Scottish fishing bargained away by a Tory UK government? What a surprise.

    Reply
    • ian tinkler

      Nothing bargained away yet Robert Sim, just a delay. Thank God it is not the SNP negotiating with an Indie Scotland. We would be flat our backs prostrating ourselves to the EU. That has always been Sturgeon’s position.

      Reply
      • Robin Stevenson

        LOL… Oh! Aye sure Ian, like they’ve tried to protect Scotlands fishing by doing nothing whatsoever to get a better deal for the last 45 years?… You and yer cronies really are delusional if you think anything will change in 2021 or ANYtime in the future with a London based party.

        Can’t say you weren’t warned, what was it John & Ali said? Oh! Yes “Stop scaremongering”,.. feel free to apologize…. (I won’t hold my breath)

      • ROBERT SIM

        Of course, Ian.

        I did this find this section of the report interesting:

        ‘Scottish Fishermen’s Federation chief executive Bertie Armstrong said the announcement fell “far short of an acceptable deal… As a consequence, we expect a written, cast-iron guarantee that after the implementation period, sovereignty will mean sovereignty and we will not enter into any deal which gives any other nation or the EU continued rights of access or quota other than those negotiated as part of the annual Coastal States negotiations.”’

        So do you think Bertie Armstrong will get his guarantee, Ian?

  2. David Spence

    It does not surprise me that this government, just like in 1974, has regarded Scottish and Shetland Fishing as expendable.

    However, if somebody could answer this question : What is defined as ‘ British Waters ‘ and how far from the British Coastline is this limit? Can the British Fishing Industry go back to what was agreed in terms of fishing sea limits before the UK joined the EU?

    I may be wrong, but if the British Fishing is still to continue with the EU’s CFP during the transition period, whatever length of time this will be may drag on and on?

    It is worrying and uncertain what future may lay ahead for the Shetland Fishing Industry, but I hope an amicable agreement can be resolved for the better of the industry.

    Reply
  3. Robin Stevenson

    Good grief!… Scotlands fishing industry sold down the river by the Tories, exactly as they done in 1973, who could have seen that coming?

    Certainly not John, nor Ali, or Iain and I dare say a few other Unionist party supporters who (probably) remain under the delusion that they are regarded as an equal partner in this dis-united kingdom.
    I hate to say I told you this 2 years ago boys, but I told you this 2 years ago boys.

    Thrown a few shekels back in the day by the UK Government to guarantee Shetlands undying devotion, I often wonder what it would actually take for BritNats to finally realize that they’re not only taken for granted but taken for mugs?…

    Reply
    • Ali Inkster

      And this is why I have been consistently saying we would be far better aff clear a da lot a dem.

      Reply
    • John Tulloch

      Humbug! Vintage SNP humbug!

      You, your precious SNP, all the other parties operating in Shetland, the SIC and the Shetland Fishermen’s Association all campaigned to stay in the EU – and by implication, in the Common FIsheries Policy (CFP). So spare us the disingenuous sermon.

      Not only that, the opposition parties have done everything they can to wreck Brexit, undermining our negotiators by telling the EU they will not permit the minority UK government to walk away, under any circumstances.

      Our negotiators are thus neutered and have no power to win any concessions so if the fishing goes the same way in the final agreement it will be entirely the fault of those who handed all our negotiating power to the EU.

      Let’s face it, if the “Clean, hard Brexit” so anathematic to you and the opposition parties comes to pass, our fishing grounds will return to 100 percent UK control.

      So, as they say down your way, “Away an’ bile yer heid!”

      Reply
      • Robert Sim

        “Not only that, the opposition parties have done everything they can to wreck Brexit, undermining our negotiators by telling the EU they will not permit the minority UK government to walk away, under any circumstances.”

        Whose fault is it that there’s a weak minority government at UK level, John? That’s right: Theresa May’s. She conducted the misjudged GE campaign as disastrously as she has conducted her planless and clueless brexit negotiations, outwitted by the EU at every turn.

        You shouldn’t be complaining: you got what you wanted.

      • John Tulloch

        Robert,

        Misrepresenting me, that’s nothing new.

        Staying in the EU, as the SNP wants, means staying in the Common FIsheries Policy (CFP) i.e. the EU keeps our fishing grounds.

        We are currently witnessing a political “tug o’ war” between the UK and EU negotiators in which the UK opposition parties have crossed sides and are now behind the EU, pulling with them. So, of course, we lost the last round.

        I hope you’re proud of your achievement.

        A “clean, hard Brexit”, anathema to the SNP, is the one thing that can guarantee 100 percent UK control of the fishing grounds.

      • Robert Sim

        @John Tulloch – “We are currently witnessing a political “tug o’ war” between the UK and EU negotiators in which the UK opposition parties have crossed sides and are now behind the EU, pulling with them. So, of course, we lost the last round.”

        Do you really believe your own interpretation of events, John? We “lost the last round” because the Tories are happy to bargain away fishing because it’s not as important to them as other sectors of the economy. It’s as simple as that. It was always going to be the case.

        As regards divisions, the important ones are within the UK government itself. They are unfit to lead on any issue, never mind brexit.

      • Robert Sim

        @John T – “We are currently witnessing a political “tug o’ war” between the UK and EU negotiators in which the UK opposition parties have crossed sides and are now behind the EU, pulling with them. So, of course, we lost the last round.

        I hope you’re proud of your achievement.”

        I couldn’t help recalling your comment today, John, when listening to the report of the latest brexit-related vote in the House of Lords, and Tory outrage at the way in which the HoL is “undermining” the brexit negotiations. The government seems to see it a bit differently from your anti-SNP angle, given that there are no SNP representatives in the HoL.

    • Wayne Conroy

      So tell us Robin… What do you think Nicola Sturgeon would be giving away to keep Scotland in the EU? If you don’t think fishing would be the first thing on the table you’re kidding yourself! And you talk about being taken for a mug… lol

      Reply
      • Robin Stevenson

        Well done Wayne, you’ve just confirmed that fishing was indeed given away to the benefit of London…. Oops!!!

      • ian tinkler

        Robin Stevenson, If Sturgeon had her way there would be nothing to negotiate about. Are you not aware she supports and is fighting hard to abort any change at all regarding Britain and the EU? She would destroy BREXIT and utterly prostitute Scotland to Brussels if she could. Even you must be aware of that, however blinkered and prejudicial your views

      • Wayne Conroy

        Robin… What are you going on about? Firstly how do you take my statement about Nicola Sturgeon and the fact she would give away the rights of local fishermen to stay part of the EU as me confirming that “fishing was indeed given away to the benefit of London” and secondly what on earth do you even mean by that? Given away by whom exactly?

  4. Robert Wishart

    “The mood in fishing communities is one of palpable anger” Alistair Carmichael told the Commons. His posturing and faux fury complements the hypocrisy of the nationalists. Both would reverse Brexit or have us rejoin the European Union and the common fisheries policy. It’s a poor show from the Tories but Carmichael and the nationalists strive for worse.

    Reply
  5. Robin Stevenson

    So by your logic, you imagine that being out of the EU with NO say whatsoever with regard to our fishing industry is somehow better than being in the EU with a seat at the table and being able to negotiate our position to our best advantage?

    OK, I get the fact that fishing has been sold down the river for the last 45 years by successive London parties but what’s that got to do with the SNP? We don’t negotiate on Scotlands behalf in the EU, we never have, the UK Government always has done, so let’s not pretend that they are one and the same, the SNP actually care about Scotlands industries which are the very reasons we keep having to bail them out from Tory cuts/incompetence.

    Reply
    • Steven Jarmson

      The SNP support giving away fishing rights by their support of eu membership.
      1+1 does indeed =2 in this instance.
      Parties like the snp believe fishing can be sacrificed because it’s a small industry, it’s therefore less important. It’s also not a big deal in the central belt, which is all the SNP care about.

      The UK will have a seat at the quota table once fully free from the eu.
      Fishing quotas are negotiated by the eu on behalf of the UK with the other participants such as Norway. The eu then tells the UK how much it can fish. The UK will (after 2020) sit at the big table instead of having to pander to 27 eu leaders, some of whom have no north sea fishing rights, but use the fishing quotas as a way to negotiate other things.
      The UK will (after 2020) have every right to demand our fair share of fish, and I hope the government of the day stands strong and takes our share fully.
      I can’t say for certain that the UK will take it’s full share, but it surely can’t be a lesser share than the eu graciously gifts us now.

      Reply
  6. ian tinkler

    Robin Stevenson Thank God it is not the SNP negotiating with an Indie Scotland. We would be flat our backs prostrating ( or a similar wors!) ourselves to the EU. That has always been Sturgeon’s position regarding the EU.

    Reply
  7. David Spence

    The EU may have its faults in regard to the CFP, but what would UK Fishermen do in terms of monitoring fish stocks, not fishing in area’s where fish were breeding, policing and monitoring UK Waters, whatever they may be….3.5 miles out from the coast or further, sticking to agreed quota’s and agreeing on what fishing fleets can fish where and when?

    Would UK Fishermen ever take into consideration the conservation of fish stocks or would it be a free for all and stuff the long term consequences? I fear, like many parts of the world, over-fishing would win the day, and it would be a recipe for self-destruction?

    I think what the EU was trying to do in regard to CFP was a plan of conservation and trying to sustain the industry in the long term, much to the annoyance of UK Fishermen? What would be their answer to looking long term in sustaining the industry and fish stocks?

    I fear again, if left to this government, who obviously do not give a damn, UK Fishermen will be neglected and the industry will be left in tatters not knowing what to do, no thanks to the Tories.

    Reply
    • Ali Inkster

      yes overfishing is a problem not just in Uk waters, the EU has funded the building of huge factory ships that are raping the seas near and far. East and West Africa have seen a huge drop in fish stocks since the EU forced countries on the coast to allow them to fish in return for aid. So to qualify for food hand outs and the obligatory mercedes for el presidente and his extended family, they are no longer able to catch their own food. That added to the restrictive tarrifs imposed on anything they export to the eu makes your weekly shop dearer while also keeping the african in poverty. You support the gangsters in brussels that are doing this and have the cheek to call folk that voted for brexit racist.

      Reply
    • Ali Inkster

      Fishermen here have led the way in conserving stocks with a raft of measures not followed by the rest of the eu fleet. They unlike some have shown restraint when it comes to juveniles. You are constantly on here accusing them of overfishing. You have asked the same question about what UK water will actually be and had it answered yet come back with the same inane comments. The UK EEZ extends to 200nm or the median line with neighbouring countries. Under international law the UK has EXCLUSIVE ECONOMIC access to this ZONE. Its in UNCLOS, look it up. Something else is the rape of the seas surrounding Africa by EU factory ships, forced on the coastal countries by the EU in exchange for EU aid. Which ironically has seen the rape of African children by EU funded aid workers. As for overfishing the EU has just issued Denmark half a million tonne sandeel quota to be caught in our waters. Not so long ago they caught more cod to burn in a EU funded eco power station than the UK caught for human consumption. So you keep flying the EU flag and support these practices. Your welcome to it.

      Reply
      • David Spence

        I take your points, Ali. There does not seem to be a clear direction in which this government is acting in the best interests of the fishermen, and their negotiations with the EU to be of little priority.

        I am trying to workout what exactly has been negotiated, and how will this affect Shetland, who are the largest contributor to providing fish for consumption in the UK, and Scotland with regard to the future of the industry.

        It seems that Shetland and Scottish fishing have been left high and dry by this government, and how will this affect the industry, locally, in terms of fishing rights etc etc.

        Brex*hit may give us more freedom, economically, because we are not tied to the EU, and the markets for selling fish may be wider, but I am still unsure whether this will be for the better or not?

        I may not be as knowledgeable as you Ali, on such matters, but the impression I am getting is this government are showing little or no interest in regard to negotiations with the EU on behalf of Shetland, Scotland or the UK, and the picture is rather blurred.

  8. ian tinkler

    It is a bit hard to fathom whether Robin Stevenson and Robert Sim are hypocrites or just plain ignorant. The following report cannot be too hard for them to understand!!
    https://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/937305/Brexit-News-Theresa-May-SNP-EU-fisheries

    Reply
    • John Tulloch

      Indeed, Ian – talk about “hoist by their own petard”! LOL

      Reply
    • Robert Sim

      Ian, do you understand that an independent Scotland in the EU would have full control over its own fishing and the negotiations around that and not have to watch powerlessly from the sidelines while the UK government bargains it away? That’s what the Express and Mrs May aren’t telling those among the paper’s readership who are indeed ignorant enough to believe the report you direct us to. Naive indeed.

      Reply
      • ian tinkler

        What a joke Robert Sim, “Scotland in the EU would have full control over its own fishing”!!!. I would take more water with it if I were you!!

      • John Tulloch

        Robert,

        An independent Scotland wishing to be part of the EU, as the SNP does, would have no alternative but to accept – lock, stock and barrel – the Common FIsheries Policy (CFP) because it is part of the existing body of EU law (aka the “Acquis Communautaire”).

        i.e. the CFP is non-negotiable for new members.

        Having joined/remained in the EU and accepted its rules, Scotland (c.1.0 percent of EU population), will have surrendered its only negotiating card, namely, the right to say “No” and walk away.

        Don’t you think continually basing nationalist arguments on promises everyone knows you can’t deliver makes the SNP look untrustworthy, a bit shifty?

        Voters are not fools. That’s why “Peak SNP” is well past.

      • Robert sim

        @Ian T – selective quotation, Ian? Or just not understanding? What I said was: “an independent Scotland in the EU would have full control over its own fishing and the negotiations around that…”. The last five words are crucial – you omitted them in order to alter the meaning of what I said.

        @John T – in answer to your point and following on from my answer to Ian, here’s some information from the Scottish Government website, which, although written several years ago, is still relevant today: “As an independent Member State, Scotland will be negotiating as one of the foremost and respected fishing nations in Europe. This status will give Scotland the opportunity to take a leadership role in driving reforms to the CFP and in negotiating annual fishing opportunities within the framework of the CFP. The government of an independent Scotland will be able to negotiate unequivocally for Scottish priorities without having to dilute these in order to suit wider UK objectives.”

        Right now, we are at the mercy of what a UK government wants – and fishing is of small importance to them.

      • John Tulloch

        Robert,

        You and the SNP website may delude yourselves but you ain’t fooling anyone else.

        An independent Scotland will only be able to negotiate in the way you fantasise if it is outside the EU. Alas, current SNP policy is to remain in/rejoin the EU.

        Once you’ve joined they have you by the tender parts. They have no reason to give way on anything unless you give something of similar/greater value in return that they overlooked when writing their assiduously compiled rules.

        So what will the SNP give them in order to win back the fishing from the CFP?

        “Ay, there’s the rub.”

      • ian tinkler

        Here is a full quotation from you Robert Sim, “: “an independent Scotland in the EU would have full control over its own fishing and the negotiations around that…”. Great! Now Robert, and when has a 1% minority ever made the remotest of difference to an EU negotiation? Give me a single case in the history of the EU, and I might regard your argument as credible. Otherwise, as I said, “take more water with it”. Now outside the EU, the UK does not need to negotiate, the UK, if it wished, would be free to dictate if it so wanted. One would hope the UK would be kind and alow are EU brothers some fishing, but not at the cost and detriment to our communities and fishing stocks.

  9. Granvel Mann

    The EU cannot even control the “EU subsidised” industrial fishing fleets which illegally fish off the West Coast of Africa, destroying their nets and depriving struggling communities from much needed resources. So I doubt it will do or care much about the more affluent Nations sovereignty. In regards to fishing, the EU is merely a group of post-imperialist nations that is willing to turn a blind eye to any activity it wishes when business needs arise.

    Reply

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