The Scottish Fishermens’ Federation is calling on politicians from all parties in Scotland to sign a new pledge supporting the industry’s demand that full control of UK waters be taken back from the EU.
The three-part pledge calls on MPs to vote against any arrangement that would extend the UK’s membership of the CFP beyond December 2020, block anything that prevents the UK from negotiating as a full independent coastal state and uphold the UK’s right to complete control over its own waters.
Local MP John Lamont has signed the ‘Sea of Opportunity’ pledge and speaking in Westminster today urged other Scottish MPs to do the same. In response to questioning from John Lamont MP, the Secretary of State for Scotland, David Mundell MP said that MPs “who say they are standing up for the fishing industry, need to back it up.”
The news comes as the Prime Minister has responded to a letter sent by the Scottish Conservative MPs about the issue. In that letter, the Prime Minister confirms that the UK “will decide who can fish in our waters and on what terms”. She also points out that if no agreement is reached with the EU over fisheries by 2020, the default position is that EU vessels would have absolutely no access to UK waters.
Local MP John Lamont has repeatedly called for the UK to leave the Common Fisheries Policy, which has resulted in the decline of the Berwickshire fishing community.
Speaking after raising the issue at Scotland Questions, John Lamont MP said: “I have been clear that in order for me to be able to support leaving the EU, we must ensure that this includes leaving the Common Fisheries Policy and regaining control over our territorial waters. This is really important to me because it is about supporting our local fishing communities.
“Hundreds of jobs have been lost in the past decade in Berwickshire due to a decline of the fishing industry and the impact of the CFP. We now have a real opportunity to reverse this trend and to bring more fishing and more fish processing back to the Berwickshire coast.
“That is why I am more than happy to sign the SFF’s pledge to never support anything which would take us back in to the CFP or which would undermine our ability to negotiate who has access to our waters and on what terms.
“It is clear that both the Prime Minister and the Secretary of State for Scotland agrees with me, which should reassure the industry.”