POLITICIANS from all parties at Holyrood and Westminster are being urged to sign a pledge supporting the Scottish fishing industry’s demand that full control of UK waters be taken back from the EU.
Along with the UK Fisheries Bill, the Brexit deal and political declaration provide the scope for the UK to become a fully independent coastal state, with its own seat at all the relevant international fisheries negotiations from December 2020.
However, a specific fisheries agreement must also be negotiated, and the Scottish Fishermen’s Federation (SFF) warns that the EU27 will try to make continued guaranteed access for EU boats to UK waters a pre-condition of tariff-free trade in seafood.
The pledge, which the Scottish Fishermen’s Federation will urge all politicians to sign, states:
‘I pledge to back Scottish fishermen and our coastal communities by:
• Voting against any arrangements that would extend our membership of the Common Fisheries Policy beyond December 2020 or that would take us back into the CFP after that date;
• Voting against any arrangement that prevents the UK from negotiating access and quota shares as a fully independent Coastal State from that date;
• Upholding the UK’s right to exercise complete control and sovereignty over its own waters.
SFF chief executive Bertie Armstrong (pictured) said: ‘We have made it very clear since the referendum in 2016 that anything other than full, unfettered sovereignty over our own waters would be crossing a red line for the fishing industry.
‘Despite the stated wishes of French president Emmanuel Macron, which we know are shared by the other large fishing nations, Denmark, the Netherlands and Germany, we should give a clear and resounding ‘Non!’ to the idea of guaranteeing continued access.
‘Access and quotas must be negotiated annually, not carved up in advance. The link between access and trade breaches all international norms and practice and is simply unacceptable.’