Thursday, 29 Jul 2021

Fishing FURY: ‘Betrayed’ fishermen ‘want answers’ as Brexit row boils over

UK and EU agree new £333 million fishing deal

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In a Commons debate, MPs flagged the Scottish seafood industry is “drowning in bureaucracy and red tape”, and faces an “existential threat”. Fishing crews across the UK have voiced outrage over the Brexit trade deal with the EU.

Deidre Brock, SNP MP for Edinburgh North and Leith, said fishing had taken “a huge skelping” in a Commons debate on the future of fisheries.

The MP continued to say the “sea of opportunity” promised by the Tories has “turned to sludge” as MPs from around the UK repeatedly raised the sense of “betrayal” felt by the fishing sector.

She said: “When damage is done to the industry, it affects not just the crews on the boats but the communities back on land, many of which, certainly in Scotland, are sustained by fishing.

“Removing the industry will remove the lifeblood from those communities.

“Scotland’s coastal communities could be facing the same devastation in the 2020s that Thatcher’s governments visited upon the industrial towns of Scotland’s central belt.”

Brendan O’Hara, SNP MP for Argyll and Bute, said an increase in the cost of exports now meant Brexit was seen as “an existential threat to the industry”.

He added the deal has created “an industry struggling with falling prices and loss of markets, an industry drowning in bureaucracy and red tape, and one struggling to cope with labour shortages and facing huge transport and logistical problems”.

Alistair Carmichael, Liberal Democrats MP for Orkney and Shetland, said fishermen in his constituencies “feel let down and used and they want answers”.

He claimed one business in Shetland had managed to reduce a likely £50,000 sales loss to £20,000 by selling at a cut price to the domestic market – only to be told that this meant “there will be no assistance for him”.

Tory fisheries minister Victoria Prentis insisted “there is a bright future ahead of us”.

She admitted the last 18 months had been “very difficult” for the industry, but details on an interim quota-swapping scheme have been agreed with the EU and will be announced next week.

She also said the Government has an “effective and intelligence-led enforcement system” for policing UK waters and highlighted the £23 million in compensation provided to the industry and the £100 million fund to “modernise and develop the seafood sector”.

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Fishing was a significant area of contention during Brexit negotiations between the UK and EU.

In the deal that was secured on Christmas Eve, both sides agreed that 25 percent of EU boats’ fishing rights in UK waters will be transferred to the UK fishing fleet over a period of five years.

After the end of the adjustment period in June 2026, there will be annual talks to decide catch limits.

Boris Johnson hailed the deal secured by the UK at the time – with the EU wanting a longer adjustment period during talks.

Source: Read Full Article

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