Ahead of this week’s December Council, Scottish fishermen’s leaders have warned that the European Union countries will be guilty of vengeful behaviour if they pile pressure on UK fishermen as a result of Brexit, stating that with a fisheries agreement to be negotiated as part of the final exit settlement, it is not in the interests of the 27 EU nations to take a hard line on 2019 quotas and TACs.
SFF chief executive Bertie Armstrong commented that there is already considerable anger over the EU’s decision to roll over an arrangement that allows the Faroe Islands to catch a third of its mackerel quota in community waters, despite having promised to carry out a review.
He added that further concerns relate to the EU’s insistence on achieving conflicting priorities such as completing the roll out of the discard ban without addressing the problem of choke species at the same time as proposing significant reductions in quota for key stocks.
‘We are getting close to the point where Britain leaves the EU, and this will be the last December Fisheries Council that we attend before we begin the transition to coastal state in our own right,’ Bertie Armstrong said.
‘Sensible management of fish stocks is extremely difficult when you are facing the double whammy of (an unworkable discard ban that takes little account of the mixed fishery in Scottish waters and therefore the issue of choke species and significant cuts to key stocks such as cod and haddock that will exacerbate this problem.’
‘Given that we have a fisheries agreement to negotiate, it would be utter folly for the EU to try to exact retribution on the UK by further punishing our hard-working fishermen instead of analysing the situation dispassionately and looking for a series of sensible, practical solutions to these problems.’
The Scottish Fishermen’s Federation has launched its first ever annual SFF State of Industry Reportwhich highlights the rationale for leaving the Common Fisheries Policy.