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Fisheries Negotiations

Part of the debate – in the Scottish Parliament on 19th November 2019.

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Photo of Finlay Carson Finlay Carson Conservative

I am pleased to speak in the debate at this important time in the fishing industry’s annual calendar. It is always a welcome opportunity for members on all sides of the chamber to put on record our thanks to our brave skippers and fishermen and our industry representatives, who work tirelessly to support the industry in what is a challenging meteorological and political climate.

Inshore vessels of less than 10m in length make up 74 per cent of the Scottish fishing fleet. I represent many coastal communities in my constituency of Galloway and West Dumfries, where the majority of our fishermen work in the inshore sector. As has been mentioned, Kirkcudbright, in the heart of my constituency, is home to the UK’s largest scallop port, so I am very conscious of the need to protect all our fishing interests.

In 2017, non-UK European fishing boats landed around 700,000 tonnes of fish and shellfish from the UK’s exclusive economic zone—about eight times more in weight than our own registered vessels landed from the EU EEZ. That equates to a staggering £2.5 billion, which represents a massive potential loss of income to our coastal communities.

With that in mind, it is incredible, when we look back at the SNP’s track record, to see that its members of the European Parliament backed a report calling for the continuation of the CFP, even after Brexit.

I am not taking any interventions.

The Scottish Government admitted that it wishes to hand back powers to Brussels, and SNP minister Maree Todd is quoted in The Shetland Times as saying that being a member of the EU meant

“going along with the CFP”.