Salmond fishing for ‘yes’ votes at port

First Minister Alex Salmond visited Peterhead on Friday to answer questions from local fishermen about what independence means for the fishing industry.

Mr Salmond was introduced by Peterhead Port Authority chairman, John Wallace who asked him if the port would receive support from the Scottish Government in the future.

Chief Executive of the Scottish Fishermen's Federation, Bertie Armstrong, poses a question to First Minister, Alex Salmond

Chief Executive of the Scottish Fishermen's Federation, Bertie Armstrong, poses a question to First Minister, Alex Salmond

Replying to Mr Wallace’s query, Mr Salmond said: “Peterhead Port generates a huge amount of income so the £5 million grant was justified and that decision was based on income.

“As long as I am First Minister, fishing grants will receive my utmost support.”

His next two questions came from Scottish Fishermen’s Federation chief executive, Bertie Armstrong, as he asked about the European Union’s Common Fisheries Policy and future access to quota changes.

The pair became involved in a heated debate, with Mr Armstrong claiming that he felt ‘intimidated’ by a letter written by Mr Salmond following comments he had previously made suggesting that the SNP would restrict access to Scottish waters if Scotland was denied EU membership.

Following this remark, Mr Salmond said: “You are the first fishing leader who has ever told me that they felt pressurised or intimidated by a letter I sent.

“I don’t take kindly to your attempts to reinterpret my speech in Bruges as you have already done and I am justified in pointing that out to you, honestly in a letter.”

Following the clash, Mr Salmond faced questions from local skippers Jimmy Buchan and Peter Bruce, David Anderson of Aberdeen Fish Producers Organisation and president of the Scottish Fishermen’s Federation, Ross Dougal.

Speaking to the Buchanie after the question and answer session, Mr Salmond said: “Any Scottish Government will always have fishing as a higher priority than any Westminster Government - they once said Scottish fishing was expendable, it will never be expendable.”