MSP for Banffshire & Buchan Coast, Stewart Stevenson has demanded the Westminster Government protect the Scottish fishing sector and coastal communities.
Mr Stevenson spoke at SNP Conference where he proposed the resolution on the future of Scotland’s fishing interests. He spoke on the Common Fisheries Policy as a policy that diverts economic benefits away from Scottish coastal communities, and the need to maintain access to labour and non-tariff access to the European single market for fish processing.
He slated Westminster for their failure to provide any certainty for Scottish fishing and demanded they not sell-out the industry again. He made clear that Scotland’s only Tory MP, David Mundell, has no relationship to fishing interests, is out of his depth, and called for a Scottish Minister to lead post-Brexit fisheries negotiations.
He said: “The SNP will always stand up for Scotland- that includes Scottish fishing. We’ve always been opposed to the CFP and will do whatever it takes to get the best deal for Scottish fishing. It is not acceptable that the majority of fish caught in our waters are loaded into foreign vessels, nor is it acceptable that Scottish vessels are stopped from fishing active spawning grounds while vessels from other countries continue to fish them.
“If we are to protect our coastal communities, we need to make sure we protect our fishing communities as a whole. That also means protecting the single market and the free movement of people. We need tariff-free access to the biggest single fisheries market in the world, and we need the many hard working Europeans that help drive the processing industry.
“David Mundell has said he doesn’t think control of our own fishing is ‘realistic.’ Meanwhile, George Eustice has changed his mind from ‘automatically’ devolving fishing, to needing a ‘UK-wide framework.’ It’s vital we ensure the Tories can’t turn that kind of flimsy thinking into policy. The only way to do that- let a Scottish Minister lead on fishing negotiations.”