Managing Scotland’s Fisheries

Part of the debate – in the Scottish Parliament on 14th January 2021.

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Photo of Fergus Ewing Fergus Ewing Scottish National Party

They are not my responsibility. The important thing is that we work to sort out the problems as best we can. I have been doing my best to do that. Later this afternoon, I will attend another meeting with Mr Gove to that end.

Mr Stevenson referred to the deal that has been done, which has resulted in the loss of the hake preference and in extra quota of paper fish only—in other words, extra quota that will never be of any practical benefit. The Scottish industry has lost the option of buying or swapping extra quota. We have lost the negotiating leverage that we had, because European Union vessels have automatic access to our grounds. In five years’ time, we also face a retaliatory clause because, if the EU does not get what it wants, it can start imposing tariffs on aquaculture and other sectors. This is a rotten deal.

To answer Mr Stevenson’s question, I think that fishermen expect a bit of honesty and for just one Tory parliamentarian to acknowledge that this is a bad deal. I have not seen any sign that any Tory parliamentarian, whether at Holyrood or at Westminster, has the guts to be honest with the Scottish fishermen whom they have betrayed.