The Scottish Fishermen’s Federation today welcomed the Prime Minister’s backing for a national fishing strategy.
The SFF has long called for a new blueprint for the industry as the UK leaves the Common Fisheries Policy.
Boris Johnson acceded to the suggestion of a coherent industry-wide approach to making the best of the opportunity that Brexit will present to grow the industry, during a visit to Peterhead Fish Market.
Elspeth Macdonald, SFF chief executive, said: “We very much welcome the Prime Minister’s backing for our plan and we were pleased that he listened to and accepted the validity of the key points the SFF has been making since the EU referendum. He very much recognised that there is a Sea of Opportunity and that we need to seize it.”
The SFF’s key demands are:
· That the UK becomes a sovereign Coastal State and regains full control over its own waters, known as the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).
· That in doing so the UK and Scottish governments have the power to determine, in relation to our fisheries resource, who gets to catch what, where and when for the benefit of our coastal communities and wider economies.
· That the Scottish industry is able to gain early wins in the form of quota uplift and year-on-year gains thereafter.
· That sustainability of our fisheries will be enhanced by jettisoning the practice enshrined in the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) of allocating quota according to historical precedent (relative stability) and moving to a modern and evidence based method of allocation according to where fish stocks actually are (zonal attachment).
· That no linkage should be made between access to UK waters (for EU vessels) and access to EU markets (for UK fish traders or other industries).
Mrs Macdonald added: “The UK must resist any temptation to reach a backroom deal that erodes in any way these fundamental tenets.
“This would be regarded within the industry as a betrayal of previous and current political promises, and Mr Johnson was left in no doubt of that today.”