CFP a ‘disastrous tool’ says SFF

The SFF is concerned about relationships between the EU and the UK following Brexit Photo: SFF The SFF is concerned about relationships between the EU and the UK following Brexit Photo: SFF

European Union countries will be guilty of vengeful behaviour if they pile pressure on UK fishermen as a result of Brexit, say Scottish fishermen’s leaders.

The Scottish Fishermen’s Federation (SFF) warns that, with an agreement to be negotiated as part of the final exit settlement, it is not in the interests of the EU-27 to adopt hardline positions in the talks at the annual December Council.

Bertie Armstrong, chief executive of the SFF, said: “We are getting close to the point where Britain leaves the EU, and this will be the last December Fisheries Council that we attend before we begin the transition to coastal state in our own right.”

The SFF said that there is already considerable anger over the EU’s decision to roll over an arrangement with Faroe that allows its vessels to catch a third of their mackerel quota in UK waters despite having promised to carry out a review.

Further SFF concerns relate to the EU’s alleged insistence on achieving conflicting priorities such as completing the roll out of the discard ban without addressing the problem of choke species at the same time as proposing significant reductions in quota for key stocks.

Mr Armstrong argued that these factors are making fish stocks management extremely difficult. “If further evidence were required that the Common Fisheries Policy is a disastrous tool for fisheries management, this is it,” he said.

“But given that we have a fisheries agreement to negotiate, it would be utter folly for the EU to try to exact retribution on the UK by further punishing our hard-working fishermen instead of analysing the situation dispassionately and looking for a series of sensible, practical solutions to these problems.”

The SFF has recently launched its first ever annual SFF State of Industry Report which highlights the rationale for exiting the CFP and provides clarity on a series of issues within the industry.

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