Boom time for Scottish fishing! Finally ending EU policy celebrated as ‘chance for growth’

Brexit: Fisheries is ‘not up for discussion’ says Simon Hart

Kevin Foster, Minister for Immigration told Holyrood’s Europe Committee that leaving the EU’s fisheries policy at the end of the transition period will see the industry significantly grow. Mr Foster, who was questioned by SNP MP Stewart Stevenson on fisheries, added: “I think that we can start a much stronger narrative about the future of fishing.

“Let us be honest that, for too long, the narrative domestically has been that, with the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP), the industry has been in decline and is not one that perhaps people see a future in.

“I think that, now that we are coming out of the CFP, we can see the prospect of growth, a real future and opportunity in the industry.

“Our message is that we are very keen to support the industry.”

Brexit negotiators are currently trying to combat an impasse in fisheries which is holding up securing a Brexit trade deal.

 

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The EU wants to continue to maximise access to UK waters for it’s fishing fleets after December 31 but the British argue the UK is now an independent coastal state and should be able to prioritise its own boats.

Mr Foster made clear no assumption should be made fishermen were “low-skilled” employees.

He said: “We need to break the image of the industry in some people’s minds.

“Having engaged with the catchers, I know that there are some very strong, good rewards in the fishing sector.

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“There are some good opportunities, and we want more people in the sector, particularly as we are coming out of the common fisheries policy.”

Mr Foster’s colleague Simon Hart said UK supremacy on fishing in UK waters is “not up for discussion” with Brussels.

The Welsh Secretary struck a defiant tone in the Commons as he responded to Conservative colleague Sheryll Murray, who represented South East Cornwall.

Mr Hart said: “The fishing industry made its views absolutely clear back in 2016, as did 55 percent of the Welsh nation. UK sovereignty over fishing in UK waters is not up for discussion.”

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Following the comments, a Whitehall source close to the negotiations, said: “This makes our message clear the EU Common Fisheries Policy is outdated.

“It reaffirms our position the UK is a sovereign nation and this will not be undermined.”

Boris Johnson has made clear since his election manifesto last year he would be focused on delivering Brexit by “taking back control”, or regaining sovereignty through a clean break from EU rules.

This afternoon, Downing Street said that leaving the Brexit transition period without a trade deal remains the most likely outcome but noted that “we have made some progress”.

The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: “We have made some progress in some areas but it still remains that there are some significant gaps.

“Our position is still that we want to reach an FTA (free trade agreement) but it is still the case that the most likely outcome is still leaving on Australia terms.”

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