A Buchan MP has welcomed an ‘ambitious statement of intent’ from fishing leaders who want the industry to be the fastest growing part of the Scottish economy over the next ten years.
The new Scottish Fishermen’s Federation (SFF) chief executive, Elspeth Macdonald, made the declaration last week as she led a delegation to Westminster.
Banff and Buchan MP David Duguid was among a group of Scottish Conservative MPs who met the industry representatives.
The SFF has re-iterated its key objectives on Brexit during the visit – for the UK to become a sovereign coastal state with full control over its waters and power to determine quotas, to increase the share of the catch for Scottish boats, and to move to a modern and evidence-based allocation of fish. The industry has also insisted that no linkage should be made in any deal with the EU between access to UK waters and access to EU markets.
Mr Duguid said: “This is a clear and ambitious statement of intent from the fishing industry in Scotland and one that I whole-heartedly welcome.
“I have been consistent since before I was even elected that Brexit represents a huge opportunity for the sector to grow and provide a boost to our coastal communities.
“I fully support the SFF position on changing the unfair situation at present where EU boats are allocated about 60% of the catch in our waters.
“But a future increase in catch must be supported by investment in onshore processing facilities and infrastructure.
“I held talks with the Department for Transport Minister Chris Heaton-Harris MP, along with representatives of seafood processors and salmon producers, to discuss potential challenges in getting their products to the continent. Importantly, that meeting also focused very much on solutions to any difficulties that may arise.
“I will continue to engage positively with industry and government ministers in the interests of the whole UK industry, but specifically for those in my own constituency as we prepare to leave the EU..”