NFFO warns on independence threat

THE group which represents English, Welsh and Northern Irish fishermen has spelt out the threats they face if Scotland eventually votes for independence – but warns it could also backfire on the Scottish industry.
The National Federation of Fishermen’s Organisations (NFFO) said the SNP has been clear about both its objectives and destination.
‘Those tactics are to generate friction with the Westminster administration wherever this suits the independence narrative; and to press for concessions wherever it can.
‘Fisheries is one particularly rich area where the nationalist strategy is being pursued with vigour.’
Spelling out the implications, the NFFO said: ‘Until now, any registered UK fishing vessel could operate anywhere within UK waters and land at any port, subject only to zonal restrictions put in place for conservation purposes.
‘Devolution is eroding those rights. The current draft concordat drifts further in the direction of separation and additional and artificial restrictions, driven not by sensible fisheries management but by the nationalist agenda.
‘If an English or Northern Irish vessel, for purely economic reasons, lands more than 50 per cent of its catch into Scotland, it will deemed to be a Scottish vessel and must be administered by Scotland. This is quite simply part of a power and quota grab.
‘A post-Brexit regime in which Scotland controls who has access to its waters and under what conditions they may fish, is unlikely to treat ‘foreign’ UK vessels fairly.
‘These vessels are already second class citizens, having no say as stakeholders, in shaping Scottish fisheries policy.
‘The drift is towards separation and Scottish control that is entirely in line with the nationalist agenda.’
The NFFO points out that Scottish registered vessels fishing for scallops in the Channel, or for prawns in the Farne Deeps, want or need access to waters now under English jurisdiction and any restrictive measures applied to English or Northern Irish vessels operating in Scottish waters are likely to draw down parallel restrictions. That is the logic of protectionism.