Fishermen look for control of fishing waters

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Scottish fishermen feel they have the support of the UK Government, but local MP John Lamont believes the same cannot be said for SNP and Labour MEPs.

Last week Scottish fishermen’s leaders reported a “positive reception” from senior politicians and civil servants as they pressed the case for restoration of sovereignty over UK waters post-Brexit. However, Mr Lamont criticised the actions of the SNP and Labour MEPs who he said backed an attempt by the European Parliament to keep the UK inside the Common Fisheries Policy post-Brexit.

Chief executive of the Scottish Fishermen’s Federation Bertie Armstrong said: “We saw the European Parliament vote to link access to our resources with trade and to retain 60% of our seafood resource. This cannot be allowed to happen – decisions in our waters as to who fishes for what and when will be ours to take under international law.

“This does not mean that there won’t be access for EU fleets, rather that it will be on our terms and not enforced by a system which currently entitles our vessels to a mere 40 per cent of the natural capital of the UK Exclusive Economic Zone.”

Angry at MEPs, John Lamont, said: “It beggars belief that any British MEP can support what amounts to blackmail by the European Parliament.

“This report says the UK must either give up the right to exercise control over its fishing grounds or face losing EU markets for its fish. Leaving the CFP is an absolute red line for fishermen in Berwickshire and the east coast of Scotland.”

“Hundreds of jobs have been lost in the past decade in Berwickshire due to a decline of the fishing industry and the impact of the CFP. We now have a real opportunity to reverse this trend and to bring more fishing and more fish processing back to the Berwickshire coast. I am not sure why this opportunity is being jeopardised by the very people who are meant to be representing the UK in Brussels.”