The Scottish Fishermen’s Federation and the National Federation of Fishermen’s Organisations, which together represent the UK fishing industry, held talks with senior UK politicians today calling on them to hold firm on the commitments made to fishermen and coastal communities ahead of the 15th October Brexit negotiations deadline.
Elspeth Macdonald, Chief Executive of the Scottish Fishermen’s Federation, and Barrie Deas, Chief Executive of the National Federation of Fishermen’s Organisation, salong with other senior representatives, reminded politicians of the promises made to the industry and outlined the steps that must be taken to enable the UK to right the wrongs of the past in order to secure maximum benefit from its new status as an independent coastal state.
Fisheries Minister Victoria Prentis was in attendance alongside leading politicians from the Labour Party, the SNP, Liberal Democrats and Plaid Cymru, many representing coastal areas across the UK. The meeting was also attended by prominent members of the House of Lords.
In a joint statement, Barrie Deas and Elspeth Macdonald said:
“We believe that Brexit presents a once-in-a-generation opportunity for the UK fishing industry. We welcome the UK Government’s repeated public assurances that securing a fair deal on fisheries is a matter of principle and not expedience. We expect the UK Government to continue to negotiate on this basis.
“We know that the EU is putting intense pressure on UK negotiators but we urge them to hold firm and not trade fishing away. The UK, as an independent coastal state, is seeking a deal with the EU that mirrors the arrangements it has with other independent states with which it shares stocks, such as Norway.
“We look forward to working with parliamentarians across the political spectrum to secure arrangements for our fisheries that will be fit for the future and will enable our industry and our fishing communities to thrive.”