All sides are disappointed in EU fishing deal

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Berwickshire fishing communities are angry and disappointed following agreement that control of fishing grounds will remain with the EU for the next two years.

Borders MP John Lamont criticised his own party’s handling of the discussions, saying: “This implementation agreement in no way matches what I hoped to achieve from this process. It will mean our fishing waters continue to be controlled by Brussels for much longer than expected.

“I have supported the fishing industry’s demands that we take back control of our fishing waters at the earliest available opportunity.

“I share their disappointment in the UK Government and the deal which has been agreed with the EU for fishing during the transition period, particularly after being assured by Ministers that they understood the importance of our fishing industry.

“Brexit is a huge opportunity for our fishing communities including those in my constituency. After the implementation period is over, full control over our waters must come back to the United Kingdom from Brussels.”

Scottish Fishermen’s Federation Bertie Armstrong said: “We will leave the EU and leave the CFP, 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.

“We do not trust them to look after us.”

Berwickshire based Scottish Government minister Paul Wheelhouse (SNP) said: “The Tories have sold out the fishing communities in Berwickshire and East Lothian time and time again.

“They have demonstrated once again that communities like Eyemouth, the Berwickshire coastal villages and Dunbar are expendable and they simply cannot be trusted.

“Now we know not only will the UK have to abide by CFP rules during the transition period, the UK will lose all the voting rights it has now, during that period: the worst possible outcome for Scotland’s catching sector.”

Eyemouth Community Council chairman James Anderson, who is leading a delegation to the Scottish Parliament, said this week: “We are off to the Scottish Parliament in the coming weeks, with a following of local fishermen in tow, to meet with MSPs about the fishing industry but we find it distasteful that both sides say it’s the other side’s problem?

“If the UK and Scottish parliaments blame each other, who is actually taking responsibility and trying to defend our fishing grounds?”