Clyde fishermen parted company with the Scottish Fishermen’s Federation in November last year, and have announced that the Clyde Fishermen’s Association (CFA) has instead become part of the Communities Inshore Fisheries Alliance (CIFA), which it describes as a politically neutral umbrella voice for fishing associations and fishing-related businesses.
According to the CFA, members spent last weekend, like so many other fishermen, reading of the government’s ‘sell-out’ of the UK fishing industry in the recent transition agreement.
‘It’s very sad to read, particularly because of the outcries of the Scottish fishing leaders getting it wrong,’ the CFA states.
‘We have to be absolutely clear. Not all Scottish fishing leaders go this one wrong.’
The CFA states that the decision to leave the SFF, or which it was a founding member 40 years ago, was not reached lightly.
‘But having sat around the SFF table, the CFA no longer felt the across the board interests of Scottish fishermen were being adequately represented,’ a CFA spokesman commented.
‘The CFA believe that assuming all fishermen think and feel the same about political and constitutional issues is an over-simplification of a very wide demographic. Instead we work neutrally across all political parties and in consensus to achieve the best fisheries policy we can,’ the CFA said, commenting that a fair and sustainable fishing industry at all scales will ultimately benefit the nation.
‘As an association we accept and respect that there are many salient arguments for and against Brexit even within our own membership. Some fishermen hoped that Brexit would bring new fishing opportunities, while some worried about the continued practical access to EU markets for the export of seafood, particularly shellfish.’
The CFA states that an inclusive and clear road-mapping exercise taking a practical and objective look at the threats and opportunities would be essential, and mentions the work done by the National Farmers’ Union to strategically plan across the scales and sectors of its membership as an example.
‘We understood that it was this type of insightful approach that fishing policy should also adopt,’ the CFA states.
‘Fishing can be so much more to the nation than it currently is, it’s undervalued in its potential. We want to help rectify that position with some holistic thought, and we hope to continue to do that as an association with our likeminded fishing colleagues through CIFA.’
‘The transitional deal is incredibly disappointing,’ the CFA’s spokesman said. ‘It’s nothing short of an opportunity missed. It’s clear that our representation and voice need to quickly change, increase and improve on all fronts, and we will do our best to ensure this happens.’