Scottish Fishermen’s Federation’s Chief Executive, Elspeth Macdonald (above) has written to UK Chief Negotiator Lord Frost
The Scottish Fishermen’s Federation’s Chief Executive has written to Lord Frost in order to impress upon him the need to secure a good outcome for the Scottish fishing industry.
As the deadline for future relations negotiations draw close to the deadline, SFF chief Elspeth Macdonald has urged the UK’s chief negotiator to remain steadfast in the talks in order to secure the right outcome from these fisheries negotiations that will “deliver an immediate and demonstrable economic benefit. “
Text of letter sent today to UK’s lead Brexit negotiator
Dear Lord Frost
UK/EU Future Relationship – Fisheries Negotiations
As you know, the Scottish Fishermen’s Federation has welcomed greatly the repeated assurances you and the UK government has given on securing the right outcomes for fishing through the Future Relationship negotiations. We have also greatly valued the regular engagement with your negotiating team, which has been very helpful.
This has been a long road for the Scottish fishing industry, but the end of the UK’s membership of the Common Fisheries Policy is now in sight. The CFP has, for 40 years, given away the majority of fish in UK waters for the benefit of the EU fleet, to the huge detriment of our own industry. We are now very close to being able to right that wrong, to reclaim sovereignty and control access to our exclusive economic zone and to have a much fairer share of the resources in our own waters. We will be in a position to negotiate annually with the EU as sovereign equals, just as the EU does with other independent countries such as Norway, where the fishing industry is hugely successful and is thriving. Our industry, and the businesses and communities that depend on it, can thrive too, if the Government secures the right outcome from the fisheries negotiations. These rights to control and manage our waters will return automatically once we leave the CFP and are no more than any other independent coastal State like Norway, and indeed like the EU itself, is entitled to.
It is imperative at this crucial stage that the UK remains steadfast. Securing the right outcome from these fisheries negotiations will deliver an immediate and demonstrable economic benefit. There is no clearer example of success than regaining our sovereignty for the benefit of the UK. Conversely, getting a sub-optimal deal on fishing would constitute failure to deliver on promises made to the industry, and would perpetuate the deeply unfair arrangements under EU membership, where others have benefited hugely from the UK’s natural resources, to the UK’s very significant disadvantage. So It is up to the EU which of the two routes it wishes to take towards the UK becoming a coastal State – through a stable framework agreement that respects UK sovereignty and follows similar arrangements that the EU has with other coastal States in the north-east Atlantic, or via a more uncertain route for the EU where everything is done through annual negotiations with no framework agreement in place.
For your information, I have attached to this letter a statement that SFF recently issued jointly with the National Federation of Fishermen’s Organisations, setting out our shared view on the final stages of these negotiations.
No other country in the world gives away its fish in the way the UK has for the last 40 years, and we now have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity – a Sea of Opportunity – for change. We have never been in a stronger position than we are now, but anything given away now will never be regained. SFF urges you to remain firm on fishing, and not to concede our precious natural resources and our sovereignty.