A Yes vote in September’s independence referendum will mean that Scotland’s vital fishing industry will thrive - not just survive.
That was one of the key messages delivered last weekas Fishing for Yes, the latest campaign group to join the growing Yes movement, was launched at Peterhead Harbour.
North-east skipper David Gatt and co-founder of Fishing for Yes said: “Independence is undoubtedly the right way forward for all of Scotland, but for our fishing industry a Yes vote is not only desirable, it is an absolute necessity.”
Speaking at the official launch of the group at Peterhead harbour, Mr Gatt added: “The fishing industry in Scotland needs greater influence, better representation, a fairer deal in funding, and quota protection and this will only happen if we vote Yes in September.”
“Our fishing fleet and our fishing communities have suffered the most under the Westminster system but by taking control of our own future we have much to gain.
“A Yes vote will promote the Scottish fishing industry from the sidelines to centre stage and give us the voice we richly deserve at Europe’s top table.”
Mr Gatt, skipper of the Audacious, was joined by North-east politicians as well as fellow Fishing for Yes founders Brian Buchan of the Peterhead-based Lapwing and John Cox, chief executive of the Scottish Seafood Association to launch the group on the quayside at Peterhead, one of Europe’s premier fishing ports.
Among those who have signed up to the group are John D. Buchan, former skipper of the Peterhead-based Fairline and an industry insider for over 40 years.
Mr Buchan said: “I was involved in fishing for over 40 years.
“I reluctantly made the decision to leave the industry after successive Westminster governments negotiated increasingly poor fishing opportunities for Scotland.
“I have no doubt that if Scotland had had its own representation at the top tables in Europe, then I and a great many more fishermen would still be in the industry today.
“A Scottish Government representing Scottish fishermen will always get the best deal for Scotland,” he added.
Fishing for Yes is building its campaign on five key gains of Yes:
·Fishing will be a national priority
·Direct representation in the European Union and ability to negotiate our priorities without compromise
·Protection of Scotland’s fishing quotas
·Fairer share of EU Fisheries budget
·Ensure Scotland’s fishing levies promote Scottish seafood
Welcoming the launch of Fishing for Yes, Dr Eilidh Whiteford, MP for Banff and Buchan and the SNP’s Fisheries Spokesperson at Westminster said: “‘Fishing is a priority in Scotland - but not at Westminster.
“Currently, the UK does not allow Scottish Ministers to speak at the top table yet we have nearly 70% of the UK industry.
“The reality is that fishing is much more important to Scotland than the rest of the UK.”
“The bottom line is fishing is an absolute priority for the Scottish Government.
“It is inconceivable that any Scottish administration would ever describe Scotland’s fishing industry as ‘expendable’ as the Westminster Government infamously did.”
“A vote for independence will mean that we can stop our quota being sold outside Scotland to protect our future generations.
“With independence Scottish fisheries will thrive rather than just survive,” added Dr. Whiteford.