UK Economics

Scotland’s fishermen slap down Sturgeon’s dream to re-join EU

SCOTTISH fishermen have warned First Minister Nicola Sturgeon not to barter away the UK’s fishing rights in order to maintain trade and economic ties with Europe.

Scotland fishingGETTY    RIGHTS: Scottish fishermen want their rights protected

The Scottish Fishermen’s Federation said Brexit presents “a unique opportunity for the UK to re-establish itself as a major fishing nation”.

Bertie Armstrong, SFF chief executive, said EU membership brought a “serious disadvantage for our fishing industry and coastal communities”.

He said Scottish fishermen were “regarded as expendable” in negotiations to enter the EU in the early 1970s and should not be overlooked now.

It comes as Mrs Sturgeon seeks to redefined Scotland’s ties with the European Union, and perhaps even force through another Scottish referendum to renew it’s membership.

Soctland fishingGETTY IGNORED: The fishing industry say they were ‘regarded as expendable’ in the 70s

A glance at the history will illustrate why this is the right thing to do

Bertie Armstrong

But Mr Armstrong has warned politicians not to overlook the fishing industry again in their negotiations.

He said: “The Scottish fishing sector is delighted and full of hope that Brexit will restore to the UK the normal rights and responsibilities for fishing enjoyed by all coastal states in their own sea space.

“A glance at the history will illustrate why this is the right thing to do.

“It is no small thing and will rectify an initial bad mistake that evolved into a situation of serious disadvantage for our fishing industry and coastal communities.

Soctland fishingGETTY   FISHING: Mr Armstrong has warned politicians not to overlook the industry

“Regarding the history, the UK along with Ireland and Denmark joined in 1973 what was then the European Economic Community, taking the membership count from six to nine.

“In the give-and-take negotiation over joining conditions, access to fishing was made collective with UK fishing famously noted by the government of the day as ‘expendable’.”

He also said in the submission given ahead of his appearance at the committee that normal fishing rights will be restored unless they are traded away again.

Prime Minister Theresa May has said that although Britain is leaving the EU, it is “not leaving Europe” and she is keen to maintain economic ties.

ScotlandGETTY  PROTEST: A protest down the River Thames before the referendum

But European Council president Donald Tusk warned there will be “no single market a la carte” and Britain would have to accept concessions.

The SFF fear that one of the concessions given to Europe will be fishing rights.

Their action plan says that although they seek to maintain partnerships with other nations, they also believe the UK’s fishing industry has a strong negotiating hand.

They also say leaving the EU trading block could secure vast improvements in fishing opportunities and management of fisheries.

Donald Tusk GETTY   European Council president Donald Tusk warned there will be “no single market a la carte”

The action plan states: “Clearly, the continuing implementation of the reformed CFP will add a level of complexity to an already convoluted and politically charged exit process.

“Taken together, these factors could encourage the UK to agree a ‘conciliatory’ exit settlement on fisheries, with the aim of securing concessions elsewhere.

“This form of double jeopardy would be unacceptable.

“Having been seriously damaged in the cause of EU entry, the fishing industry must not be damaged again in the cause of EU exit.

The SFF has called for “harmful elements of any retained EU fisheries law has to be amended immediately.”

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Why should anyone take any notice of Sturgeon? Scotland would be bust in months without the financial support it gets from the UK and with the oil price as it is and likely to remain. She’s a one-trick pony who’s turned out lame. And why does she prefer Scotland ruled by unaccountable bureaucrats in Brussels rather than light-touch regulation from London, allowing Scotland its own Parliament and largely independence?

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