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Scottish Fisherfolk betrayed yet again by the Unionist Parties will they never learn ?

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Fishing – what are the Tories and Lib/Dems up to ?

In Scotland, quotas for species such as herring and mackerel have been bought up by a handful of families. Two-fifths of the entire Scottish catch by value and 65 per cent by tonnage was landed by 19 powerful super-trawlers in 2016.

More than half (13) of the top 25 quota holders have directors, shareholders, or vessel partners who were convicted of offences in Scotland’s £63m “blackfish” scam – a huge, sophisticated fraud that saw trawlermen and fish processors working together to evade quota limits and land 170,000 tonnes of undeclared herring and mackerel.

Small-scale coastal fishermen, who operate 80 per cent of Scottish boats, have to make do with just one per cent of quotas. Despite the pleas of smaller concerns the new bill failed to bring forward any redistribution of the UK’s existing quota rights. So the ultra-large companies owned by a small domestic Tory Party supporting elite who behaved so badly retain their monopoly over fishing catches in Scotland.

The shadow environment secretary said Tory ministers needed to take “urgent action to use the powers that they have domestically to redistribute fishing quota to deliver a fairer deal for smaller boats”.

“Fishing was the poster child of the “Leave” campaign and environment secretary Michael Gove has already broken promises he made to the industry to secure full control of our waters during the transition,” she continued. “With all the talk of ‘take back control’, ministers have the power to distribute UK quota now and put the smaller-scale fleet first. So why wasn’t it mentioned in their white paper?

“This shows that, while it points the fingers at others, this Tory government is to blame for a sector rigged in the interests of the super-rich. Any future fishing policy must consider how new and existing quota can be more fairly distributed and we will treat this as a priority in the upcoming fisheries bill.”

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The rich Tory-supporting fishing families of Scotland

Alexander Buchan and family. Estimated worth: £147m. The family’s Peterhead-based Lunar Fishing Company owns or controls 8.9% of the UK’s quota holdings (739,153 FQAs), making it the biggest quota holder in the UK.

Robert Tait and family. Estimated worth: £115m. The family’s Klondyke Fishing Company is the UK’s third-largest quota holder, with 6.1% of the UK total (506,953 FQAs).

Sir Ian Wood and family. Estimated worth: £1.7bn. (a fortune built largely on oil and gas services). Sir Ian’s fishing business, JW Holdings, holds 1% of the UK’s fishing quota (83,463 FQAs) and has minority investments in businesses/partnerships that hold a further 2.3% (192,169 FQAs).

This is well worth a read: (https://unearthed.greenpeace.org/2018/10/11/fishing-quota-uk-defra-michael-gove/)

Wings Over Scotland | Something smells fishy

May 2018: leaked paper shows Tories want to trade away fishing

UK Environment Secretary Michael Gove had been expected to publish the white paper on the fisheries policy for leaving the EU in December last year but has yet to do so. A leaked draft commits the UK Government to consult the Scottish Government on fisheries decisions with Mr Gove retaining the final say.

Banffshire and Buchan Coast MSP Stewart Stevenson, SNP, said the paper was evidence the Conservatives still regarded Scottish fishing as expendable.

“The Tories’ White Paper utterly fails to deliver the control over our waters and who catches fish in them that was promised in the Brexit referendum,” he said. “It confirms the Tories want to keep control in London so they can again trade away our fishermen’s rights as part of their Brexit negotiations – as they have already begun to do.

“It’s even worse than taking fishing powers away from Scotland for seven years as threatened in the UK Withdrawal Bill. This is a bid to permanently remove control over fishing from Scotland’s fishermen.

“The Tories infamously described Scotland’s fishing industry as ‘expendable’ on our way into the EU – this proves beyond all doubt they plan to do the same on the way out.” (Press & Journal)

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Jun 2018: Peterhead fish processing could be relocated to Europe after Brexit, expert warns

MPs on Westminster’s Scottish affairs committee heard the warning from Kristen Hopewell, a senior lecturer in international political economy on trade at Edinburgh University. She said:

“Companies had already moved to the North-East from Norway in order to access the EU market and will now move again, even in the event of a soft Brexit. Norway does not have the same kind of tariff-free access to Europe that Scotland has and that is part of the reason Norway moved a lot of its fish processing to Scotland. If Scotland all of a sudden faces a very high tariff on its exports, that could have profoundly negative impacts on the Scottish fish processing industry. We may well see Scotland’s fish processing industry move to places like Poland in order to access the rest of the market tariff-free.” (Press & Journal)

Scottish food sector 'swimming against the tide' after months of Brexit |  The National

Small boat owners are being starved out of business

Their spokesman said:

“Inshore fishermen are facing a crisis never witnessed before. And the merchants that they supply are in utter despair at the difficulties that lie ahead.

Creel and dive fishermen working these small boats are horrified that the interests of the few owners of deep-sea fishing vessels are being put above the interests of the many. Of Scotland’s 2,089 fishing boats, 1,539 of them are under 10 metres (33ft) long – too small to go beyond the 12-mile limit that marks the edge of our inshore waters.

They have little to gain and much to lose from Brexit. European boats are already excluded from our inshore waters, so there will be no new fishing opportunities for us after Brexit.

Instead, there will be tariffs on our shellfish products and the strong possibility of our fresh produce going bad in the lorry parks of Dover as they wait to access Europe – our main market.

Shame on the quota barons for saying Brexit is a sea of opportunities. Self-interest and greed have been displayed in copious amounts, with little or no regard to those that may suffer.” (Press & Journal)

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Mar 2018: Fishing sector’s fury over Tory Government’s Brexit ‘betrayal’

The UK Government was last night facing a furious backlash after sanctioning a “massive sell-out” of the Scottish fishing industry in its interim Brexit deal. Fishing leaders branded the decision to “capitulate” to EU demands that Britain continues to abide by its hated quotas during the two-year transition as a “disgusting betrayal” and “extremely harmful”. (Press & Journal)

North Sea cod on brink of collapse - Geographical Magazine

Mar 2018: Fresh fishing pledge from UK ministers amid backlash over ‘unforgivable’ deal

Michael Gove appealed for Tory rebels and furious fishermen to keep their “eyes on the prize” yesterday as he promised full fisheries control by the end of 2020. The under-fire UK environment secretary was warned of “palpable anger” in fishing communities over a Brexit transition deal which will keep the UK in the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) (Press & Journal)

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Nov 2019: Fergus Ewing warns Fishing communities facing ‘extremely challenging picture’ ahead of talks

Looking ahead to annual negotiations that will determine catch and quota limits for the coming year, Mr Ewing warned jobs and livelihoods are at stake in the Brussels talks. He said:

“Scientific advice published by the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) were testing for fishing communities. We have got a lot to lose. Reductions have been advised for whiting, saithe and hake, while zero catch advice remains in place for cod and whiting on the west coast. Advice on North Sea cod recommends a 61% reduction in catches next year, which will result in an “immediate and severe choke risk”. (A choke species is a type of fish with a low quota that can cause a vessel to stop fishing even if they still have quota for other species.)

Ewing also clashed with the Tories over their view that Brexit would result in regaining control over UK waters enabling fishermen to leave the “hated” Common Fisheries Policy (CFP). Ewing accused the Tories of promising the “earth, moon and stars” a no-deal Brexit would result in “bankruptcies” as a result of the need for certificates to export fish, which could cost up to £15 million. (Press & Journal)

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Nov 2019: Scottish fishing chief warns of looming crisis for the inshore fleet

In a strongly worded “Brexit Situation Statement” Scottish Creel Fishermen’s Federation (SCFF) (which represents creel fishers and comprises nearly three-quarters of the country’s inshore commercial fishing fleet) national co-ordinator Alistair Sinclair claimed that the much-vaunted benefits of the break-up for Scotland’s fishing industry were “only for the few”.

He said:

“Those who stand to gain most from exiting the EU are wringing their hands in delight at the prospect. But let us consider those within coastal communities who stand to lose most, many with the real prospect of losing their markets and livelihoods.

Scotland’s inshore fleet of small fishing boats supplies Europe with the finest shellfish – widely acknowledged to be the best in the world, sourced from the ‘best wee country in the world’.

These inshore fishermen are facing a crisis never witnessed before. And the merchants that they supply are in utter despair at the difficulties that lie ahead. Creel and dive fishermen working these small boats are horrified that the interests of the few owners of deep-sea fishing vessels are being put above the interests of the many.

Of Scotland’s 2,089 fishing boats, 1,539 of them are under 10 metres (33ft) long – too small to go beyond the 12-mile limit that marks the edge of our inshore waters.

They have little to gain and much to lose from Brexit. European boats are already excluded from our inshore waters, so there will be no new fishing opportunities for us after Brexit.

Instead, there will be tariffs on our shellfish products and the strong possibility of our fresh produce going bad in the lorry parks of Dover as they wait to access Europe – our main market.

Shame on the quota barons for saying Brexit is a sea of opportunities. Self-interest and greed have been displayed in copious amounts, with little or no regard to those that may suffer.” (Press & Journal)

Image result for overfishing political cartoon

Dec 2019: Fishing industry boss claims Tories do not have ‘credible vision’ for the future of the sector

Fraserburgh-based William Tait SNR, who is a director at the Klondyke Fishing Company, has cast doubt over Boris Johnson’s pledge to take the UK out of the common fisheries policy and has warned that the Tories would “disregard fishing in Scotland and trade away opportunities”.

He called on fishermen in the north-east to now back the SNP at December’s election. (Press & Journal)

Should Auld Acquaintance Be Forgot by John Lloyd book review

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