SNP shamed over Sturgeon plot to 'put shackles on' and hand UK fisheries BACK to Brussels

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14 shares, 103 points

The SNP has long been proposing to take Scotland back into the European Union should First Minister Nicola Sturgeon succeed in her dream to secure independence from the United Kingdom. Under her plan, Scottish fishermen would once again have to abide by the controversial Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) despite coastal communities long bemoaning the restrictions imposed under the system. Moray MP Douglas Ross shamed the Scottish National Party over their plans after SNP MP Steve Bonnar questioned whether the British Government is considering striking a deal with the EU to guarantee free access to respective waters once the CFP ceases to be in effect. 

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Scotland said: “We are in discussions about this going forward but I have to say we have a positive vision for our fishing industry in Scotland now we’ve left the European Union.

“How does that reflect on the vision of the SNP for fishing in Scotland?

“To take us back into the European Union, to be shackled once again by the Common Fisheries Policy – something many Scots and many fishermen voted comprehensively to leave.

“And the SNP want to put us right back into it.”

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SNP shamed over Sturgeon plot to 'put shackles on' and hand UK fisheries BACK to Brussels

The SNP came under fire over their plans to have Scotland rejoin the EU and re-adopt the CFP (Image: BBC•PARLIAMENT TV)

SNP shamed over Sturgeon plot to 'put shackles on' and hand UK fisheries BACK to Brussels

Ross blasted the SNP for pursuing plans fishermen are widely opposed to (Image: PARLIAMENT TV)

The Scottish Fishermen’s Federation (SFF) earlier this month renewed efforts to ensure Boris Johnson frees the whole of the UK from the stranglehold of the CFP.

The SFF warned failure to gain full control of access to British waters over the second stage of Brexit negotiations would be a “colossal betrayal” of the fishing industry.

Chief Executive Elspeth Macdonald said: “We are now entering the transition period, and for our members that means a phased exit from the Common Fisheries Policy that must be completed by the end of this year.

“But if we are to secure the benefits that leaving the CFP will bring, the Sea of Opportunity that lies just over the horizon, the UK must have sovereignty over who catches what, where and when in our waters.

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SNP shamed over Sturgeon plot to 'put shackles on' and hand UK fisheries BACK to Brussels

Nicola Sturgeon said she wants an independent Scotland to rejoin the EU (Image: EURONEWS)

“To be clear, we have never said that we wanted to deny EU vessels the opportunity to fish in UK waters post-Brexit.

“Our consistent position has been that we want unfettered control over access. Then, as a coastal state, we can negotiate with the EU and others on an annual basis in international forums.

“This is what Norway, Iceland and Faroe – and indeed the EU itself – do. Over time this will allow the UK to obtain a much fairer share of the quota in its own waters than the 40 percent it is entitled to under the CFP.”

The SFF boss added: “There is still a palpable feeling within the industry that it was let down badly when the UK joined the CFP. Any failure to leave it on the right terms would be a colossal betrayal.”


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SNP shamed over Sturgeon plot to 'put shackles on' and hand UK fisheries BACK to Brussels

British and Scottish fishermen have long lamented the limitations imposed by the CFP (Image: GETTY)

SNP shamed over Sturgeon plot to 'put shackles on' and hand UK fisheries BACK to Brussels

According to reports Scotland is set to benefit the most from the end of the CFP (Image: EXPRESS.CO.UK)

Prof David Bell from the University of Stirling claimed Scottish fisheries are expected to be the main beneficiaries of wider access to fishing quotas within the UK Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).

In a report by the Centre of Constitutional Change, Prof Bell noted the Scottish fishing industry makes up the largest contributor to the UK fishing sector as a whole.

Prof Bell said: “The UK fishing industry is dominated by Scottish production. This is partly because it can access a much larger share of the UK EEZ than the other nations.

“The fish most likely to become available if EU boats are given more restricted access to the UK EEZ are hake, herring, mackerel, and saith.

“Landings of these fish in Scotland were valued at £129.7m: the comparable figure for England was £7.6m.

“Thus Scottish production already substantially exceeds that from England in those fish stocks likely to be freed up by EU exit. This makes it likely that the Scottish fishing industry will be the main beneficiary of increased access to fishing quota within the UK EEZ.”

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