By Russell Bruce
William Tait snr of Fraserburgh-based Klondyke Fishing Company called on fishermen to now back the SNP at the general election on 12th December according to a report in the Press & Journal.
Arguing that the fishing sector faced the risk the Tories would abandon them and “trade away opportunities” Mr Tait said: “A catching policy based on zonal allocation of fishing opportunities – as the SNP advocates – would be a fairer deal for Scottish fishing and help the sector increase our share of the fish stocks caught within our coastal waters for the benefit of our coastal communities and wider economies.”
He added” “It would also protect our place in the single market, giving our processors access to the labour they need and allowing Scottish seafood to continue to be exported tariff-free to its European market.”
Westminster plans, if Boris Johnson is returned to No 10, to take powers over fishing away from the Scottish Parliament. Scotland has more people employed in fishing and in processing than the rest of the UK providing vital employment for vulnerable Scottish coastal communities.
Scotland accounts for 70% of UK fish landings
See our previous coverage of Scotland’s fishing industry and the importance of ensuring we have unrestricted access to EU markets.
In 2013 the combined value of North Sea and West Coast Nephrops landings amounted to £18,185,000. In 2017 combined landings had risen to £72,393,000. Within just 4 years the value of Scottish Nephrops landed quadrupled in value.
The market for Nephrops is Europe, and small fishermen rely on this market to earn a living. Any interruption in getting their product to market will have devastating consequences on top of which UK fishing businesses outside the Single Market, will be required to provide paperwork and veterinary certificates for every catch sold at market or bought by one of the main processors.
See also the in depth analysis we published back in March last year. The following excerpt is a quote from respected journalist Mandy Rhodes.
Mandy Rhodes, Editor of Holyrood Magazine, and one familiar with the fishing community on the Moray coast put it in her weekend article Scottish fishermen have been done up like kippers:
“What was more surprising to me was that fishermen, who so loathed the Common Fisheries Policy, were prepared to put their faith in the same Conservatives that took them into it, to then take them out of it with no equivalent pain.
“They were expendable then and they are expendable now“
As we highlighted at the time when we compared the value of the fishing industry to the sheer scale of the financial sector we still think fishermen have much to be concerned about with a Johnson Government and urge then to listen to William Tait’s advice.