Fishing future in our own hands

Scottish Fishermens Federation chief executive, Bertie Armstrong, said it was a necessary piece of legislation
Scottish Fishermens Federation chief executive, Bertie Armstrong, said it was a necessary piece of legislation

A new Fisheries Bill which was introduced to parliament this week could be worth an additional £540 milion per year to the seafood industry, plus a total of 5,000 new jobs.

For the first time since 1973, the Fisheries Bill will enable the UK to control who may fish in our waters and on what terms.

The bill also gives the UK the power to implement new deals negotiated with the EU and with other coastal States and manage fisheries more effectively and sustainably in the future.

Commenting on the Bill, Scottish Fishermen’s Federation chief executive, Bertie Armstrong, said it was “a necessary piece of legislation” that sets out a completely new framework for fisheries management outside the universally detested Common Fisheries Policy.

“Control of UK waters will no longer be exercised by the dead hand of EU bureaucracy but by our governments at Westminster and Holyrood, which we trust will work together in harmony to seize the Sea of Opportunity that stretches out before us,” he said.

“And it is accessible through an effective and reactive fisheries management regime that avoids placing unnecessary constraints on skippers and crew doing a difficult job at sea.”

The new Bill will see the Scottish Government receive new powers to regulate its sea fisheries resources to preserve the marine environment.

The Bill also enables the UK to set fishing opportunities - by proposing powers to ensure that the UK can set its own fishing quota and days at sea, which it will negotiate as an independent coastal State. As now, the UK government will consulted the Devolved Administration.

Commenting on the Bill, Environment Secretary Michael Gove, said: “The fishing industry is of vital importance to Scotland that that is why the Fisheries Bill, combined with our withdrawal from the EU, will give more decision making powers to the Scottish Government.

“The new Fisheries Bill will allow us to create a sustainable, profitable fishing industry for all of the UK. It will regenerate coastal communities, take back control of our waters and, through better conservation measures, allow our precious marine environment to thrive.”

Banff and Buchan MP David Duguid said the new Fisheries Bill ‘charts a clear course for our fishermen to get a fairer share of the catch after we leave the EU’.

“For the first time in more than 40 years we will control our waters and decide who comes in to fish and on what terms,” he said.

“This can provide a huge boost to coastal communities like Banff and Buchan and others across the UK.

“It has been welcomed by the Scottish Fishermen’s Federation and I am sure by fishermen across by Banff and Buchan constituency.

“I look forward to contributing as the legislation works its way through parliament,” he added.