The FD Podcast Series 1 Episode 15 – Mike Park OBE, CEO of the Scottish White Fish Producers Association (SWFPA) speaks to Oliver McBride on the current state of Scottish fisheries post-Brexit.
The ‘sea of opportunity’ promised during the Brexit campaign has not been fufilled. They were promised an end to the interference of the European Union, they were promised their waters back to fish for themselves, they were promised all the fish in those waters, and they were told that the future was bright for Scottish fishing in the post Brexit era.
Eight months after Brexit, things have changed, but there has been not as they Scottish fishermen wanted. Instead there have been just more and more disasters with the EU fleet continuing to have unlimited access to UK waters, the loss of access to fishing grounds in the Faroes and Norwegian waters, and the inability to quota swap with neighbouring EU countries is putting many in the industry on the brink of an exit themselves.
In this podcast, Mike talks about what is happening on the ground and the realities the Scottish fishing industry is facing in terms of keeping the sector alive.
He talks about catching opportunities and the difficulties the Scottish fleet face in the new post-Brexit era.
Mike and Oliver examine the spatial squeeze. MPAs, Offshore Wind Farms and Fish Farms are all encroaching on fishing grounds for the fleet and where does the fishing industry fit into the decision-making process.
The also talk about the myths created by documentaries such as Seaspiracy and NGOs like Greenpeace, and the impact fake news is having on the industry.
The Autumn negotiations latter this year will be a crucial point for the Scottish fishing industry. A lot depends on scientific advice from ICES for setting the quotas for stocks, especially cod, for the years to come. Mike is hoping that sense will prevail and an increase in whitefish quotas will be the result.
Another area of concern for the Scottish fishing fleet is crewing. Homegrown crewmen are getting more difficult to find and Oliver asks Mike is there a solution to this problem.
When homegrown crew are in short supply, the fishing industry relies in taking in workers from overseas but instead of making this an easy process for the fishing industry, which is in dire need of workers, the process has been made complicated but using language qualifications as a barrier.
Where is the future for the Scottish fishing industry and how will it cope with an uncertain future? Find out more by clicking on the podcast above.