PM slammed for fisheries policy hypocrisy

PM slammed for fisheries policy hypocrisy Boris Johnson with Scottish fishing industry figures in Peterhead. Photo: SFF

Scottish fishermen’s leaders welcomed Prime Minister Boris Johnson to Peterhead last week, while the Chair of the European Parliament's Fisheries Committee has branded the PM’s fisheries policies as hypocritical and out of step with reality.

The Scottish Fishermen’s Federation (SFF) stated that it welcomes the Prime Minister’s backing for a national fisheries strategy that the SFF wants to see in place as the UK leaves the Common Fisheries Policy.

“We very much welcome the Prime Minister’s backing for our plan and we were pleased that he listened to and accepted the validity of the key points the SFF has been making since the EU referendum. He very much recognised that there is a Sea of Opportunity and that we need to seize it,” said SFF chief executive Elspeth Macdonald.

The SFF has set out a list of demands, including that there should be no linkage between access to UK waters for EU vessels and access to EU markets for UK fish traders or other industries.

The UK must resist any temptation to reach a backroom deal that erodes in any way these fundamental tenets,” Elspeth Macdonald said.

“This would be regarded within the industry as a betrayal of previous and current political promises, and Mr Johnson was left in no doubt of that today.”

Hypocrisy

As Boris Johnson’s visit to Scotland ended, Chris Davies MEP, Chair of the European Parliament's Fisheries Committee, slammed the Prime Minister for "ignoring realities" in his Brexit policy.

“Boris Johnson’s visit to Peterhead exposes the sheer hypocrisy of his Brexit policy,” Chris Davies said.
"His claims that Brexit will create new opportunities for fishermen pay no regard to the reality that the majority of fish we catch is sold in the European market. These sales will be at risk if we leave the EU with no deal.”

He commented that the Prime Minister should take the opportunity to explain to fishermen how he intends to transport fish to Boulogne in the event of No Deal.

“This “just-in-time” supply chain means fish must be in France within 12 hours of leaving Peterhead. That journey can only just be completed in time now – how does he suppose a massive border delay will solve that issue? Johnson also ignores the huge and positive influence that the U.K. has had in revising the Common Fisheries Policy. The British fishing fleet is now the most profitable in Europe, and the great majority of fish stocks are now sustainable and in a healthier state than for decades.”

Chris Davies said that these are real achievements, and for the UK to turn its back on the improvements it has helped make to the European Fisheries Policy just shows how absurd Brexit is.

"Meanwhile, Johnson's intention to prorogue Parliament will kill off his own government's Fisheries Bill, and control of British waters post-Brexit,” he predicted

“Coastal communities must understand that Brexiteers, and their policies, are not on the side of fishermen. They will use British fishing as a bargaining chip to strike any future trade deal. They didn’t think twice about throwing parliamentary democracy under the bus – and they’ll do the same to the British fishing industry. There will be no winners."

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