Brexit is expected to bring benefits to the fishing industry

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The two main organisations representing Scotland’s coastal fishermen are very upbeat about the post Brexit vote.

Describing the UK’s exit from the European Union as “a sea of opportunities”, the Scottish Fishermen’s Federation (SFF) and the Scottish Association of Fish Producers’ Organisations, have produced a joint paper which said: “This sea area – most of it Scottish – contains some of the most productive, valuable and diverse fisheries to be found anywhere.

“Access to it confers a particularly strong bargaining position that should not be conceded within the general Brexit negotiating mix. It should be used instead to secure the future of our own fishing industry.”

Speaking ahead of the Scottish Parliament debate on Brexit, Bertie Armstrong, chief executive of the SFF said: “Brexit provides a sea of opportunity to restore our coastal rights and give our industry a real chance to prosper once again.

“We will have the critical mass to control the bulk of fishing on the northern continental shelf, with some of the best fishing grounds in the world.”

Berwickshire fishermen have been fighting against EU fishing quotas, restrictions on days at sea and fishing bans for years.

In 2002 there were dire warnings that up to 1000 jobs in the local fishing industry were at risk because of EU regulations. Since then a steady decline in employment within the fishing and associated industry has been seen and the Eyemouth fleet last year numbered 10 trawlers and nine creel boats - 68 people directly employed as fishermen in 2015.

The joint paper concludes: “We intend to secure the best possible deal for Scottish fishers and believe that the two governments working together would produce the best possible outcome for fishers on both sides of the border.”