No long transition on fishing rights post Brexit says fishers leaders

By: Clare Fischer
Date posted: 11 December 2017

The leader of the Scottish Fishermen’s Federation has said a ‘bridge’ of no more than nine months is required to protect fishing interests as Britain leaves the EU.

Trawler_M
© marchpix

The UK needs to develop new domestic fisheries legislation and to establish new oversight and stakeholder bodies and processes to replace existing EU functions.

Samuel Stone,
MCS Head of Fisheries and Aquaculture

The leader of the Scottish Fishermen’s Federation has said a ‘bridge’ of no more than nine months is required to protect fishing interests as Britain leaves the EU.

Bertie Armstrong said a transition period should be precisely that: “Not an excuse simply to extend by two years the period during which we are shackled to the utterly inequitable and hopelessly inadequate Common Fisheries Policy (CFP).”

Mr Armstrong’s comments come as industry figures meet in Brussels for the annual negotiations on fish quotas.

MCS Head of Fisheries and Aquaculture, Samuel Stone, says that regardless of the length of the transition period, there’s a huge amount of work to be done to replace the work of numerous EU bodies: “The UK needs to develop new domestic fisheries legislation and to establish new oversight and stakeholder bodies and processes to replace existing EU functions. It’s important that new laws and governance structures are developed with full stakeholder input and adhere to normal consultation and review processes to ensure they are as robust as possible.

“For the benefit of our seas, fishing industries and coastal communities, sustainability needs to be at the heart of our fisheries management post Brexit and we’re already very concerned about the expected timelines available for the public to have meaningful input into the development of new legislation.”

Bertie Armstrong maintains the case for a nine-month ‘bridge’ for the fishing industry is ‘absolutely compelling’. “The Prime Minister was clear in her Florence speech that for certain sectors of the economy matters could be settled more quickly than two years. At the December Council of European fisheries ministers in Brussels this week, fishing opportunity will be set for member states, including this country, for 2018. “By December 2019, nine months after we have formally left the EU, we will have attended the series of negotiations setting sustainable fishing opportunity in the north-east Atlantic as an independent coastal state, any other approach would make no sense whatsoever.” Meanwhile, Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing has called on the UK Government to ensure the interests of Scottish fishermen are fully represented at the Council today where UK Ministers negotiate for the whole of the UK industry.

Scottish Government demands ahead of the Council meeting include, increases in cod by-catch levels in the West of Scotland, more geographic flexibilities for boats to support the landing obligation and adjustments to quotas for West of Scotland prawns and Northern Shelf Ling.

Mr Ewing said: “Scotland is strategically placed to have the biggest and best fishing industry in Europe and is home to one of the largest fishing ports in the UK, so it is crucial the UK Government puts the post-Brexit uncertainty to one side, and focuses on the day job of championing the interests of the sector, both onshore and offshore. “A good deal would mean more flexibility for both vessels and fish quotas. While we are committed to reducing fish discards, we need to ensure that landing obligations works for Scottish fishermen. “This is also an opportunity to discuss the future and how we prevent our fleets from being tied up early when the landing obligation is full phased, and how we can take a more effective and flexible approach post-Brexit.”

Samuel Stone says Ministers at the current December Council negotiations on fishing limits must follow the science and set fishing opportunities at sustainable levels: “Fishing below the maximum sustainable yield is resulting in increased stocks and profits and importantly helps put our seas in as healthy a condition possible to endure the other threats like plastic pollution ad climate change. The sooner we get all fish stocks at healthy levels the better.”

Actions you can take

  1. Write to your MP to 'Save the laws' [campaign is now closed]
  2. Download the Good Fish Guide .pdf
  3. Download our guide showing how fish are caught
  4. Download our guide showing how fish are farmed
  5. Find out more about Scottish Wildlife
  6. Download our award winning 'Good Fish Guide App'.
  7. View the Good Fish Guide online
  8. Browse Scotland's Marine Atlas
  9. Read more about Brexit and our seas

Did you know?…

Over the last century, we have lost around 90% of the biggest predatory oceanic fish, such as tuna, swordfish and sharks

Scotland has 10% of Europe’s coastline

A estimated £1.1 billion is spent on fish and chips every year in the UK

What's your impact on our seas?

You can play a key role in securing the future of our seas and marine wildlife by making more environmentally responsible choices when buying seafood.

Make the right choice and reduce your impact - every purchase matters!

See our top tips

Help protect 40% of English seas

Dolphion
Let the government know they must protect our ocean and marine wildlife before it’s too late.

Take action