Fisheries Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 4:24 pm on 21st November 2018.

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Photo of Angus MacNeil Angus MacNeil Chair, International Trade Committee 4:24 pm, 21st November 2018

If we look at where this is going, we see that it is not going to be the headline figure the hon. Lady states. I hope that she wants the UK Government to replace absolutely any loss of subsidy and grants from the EU, because that is going to be a big concern of fishermen. As a young fisherman in Castlebay told me, “I am lucky: I have got a fishing boat, through help from the European Union. Will that remain afterwards?” I said, “The Tories are in charge. I cannot guarantee that one at all.”

We have to think about our access to markets as well, and we have to be worried about a sell-out. We need to remember that when David Cameron went to Europe to try to find concessions, fisheries were nowhere near where he or the Conservatives were looking—not a cheep was heard. It was all about migrants but, as I have just said, we need migrants. We need people who come to help us on our boats and who work in our communities—they are very important. If one thing comes out from this debate, it should be that the Scottish National party has a big welcome for people who want to come and work in Scotland. We would have more people. My community wants them, my Government want them, my local council wants them, my local processing sector wants them and my local fishing boats want them. Only one office in London—the Home Office—is stopping people from coming, to the economic detriment of my community.

We should think of the patriotism that crops up in fisheries debates. Let us have some patriotism in landings as well. We must also think about aquaculture and about salmon, which accounts for a huge part of our industry. We have to be sure that nothing is stopped at borders. Once, at Prime Minister’s questions, I asked the Prime Minister about shellfish exports being stopped on lorries—she, too, was like a rabbit in the headlights. She did not quite understand that the catch goes live to France and Spain, because they pay the top prices. If we do not get to those markets, we will not replace them in the United Kingdom, because people here will not pay the price that is paid elsewhere for crab and shellfish, so we will see a loss. The £1 billion that I mentioned earlier would be lost and would not be as large an amount in subsequent years. The Government who are treading this path have a real responsibility. For years they ran along with the common fisheries policy and did not take anything on board, but now they take a different tack. We are watching what they are doing very closely, and we will watch them with a beady eye in the years to come.