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Commercial Fishing

BREXIT SPAT OVER FISHING ‘SELL-OUT’

BREXIT SPAT

Brexit spat over fishing ‘sell-out’. A spat between the SNP and Conservatives over what the proposed Brexit deal means for Scottish fishing shows no sign of going away.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has said Scottish Secretary David Mundell must resign if he is to retain a “scrap of principle or credibility” after details emerged of the post-Brexit fishing deal. Ms Sturgeon said details of the new agreement appeared to show there would be no annual negotiations on quota shares.

“The political declaration that has been agreed between the UK Government and the European Commission represents another Tory sell-out of Scottish fishermen,” she said. “What we see is the Scottish fishing industry being used as a bargaining chip in the wider trade talks.”

However, David Mundell hit back, pointing out the hypocrisy of the First Minister’s position.

“The prime minister has fiercely resisted the efforts of EU states to make an explicit link between access to our waters and access to markets,” he said.

“We will negotiate and decide, as an independent coastal state, on access and quota on an annual basis, just like Norway and Iceland do now.

“The surest way to guarantee the EU access to Scottish waters would be to rejoin the CFP – exactly what Nicola Sturgeon is demanding.”

Mrs May told MPs later in the day that “the fisheries agreement is not something we will be trading off against any other priorities”.

Tory MP, Ross Thomson wrote on Twitter: “They (SNP) want to stop Brexit, rejoin the EU and drag Scotland’s fishermen hook, line and sinker back into the hated CFP which has devastated coastal communities. Amazed Nicola (Sturgeon) can stand up with the weight of her brass neck.”

The full text of the fisheries declaration reached between the EU and UK is:

– The Parties should cooperate bilaterally and internationally to ensure fishing at sustainable levels, promote resource conservation, and foster a clean, healthy and productive marine environment, noting that the United Kingdom will be an independent coastal state.

– While preserving regulatory autonomy, the Parties should cooperate on the development of measures for the conservation, rational management and regulation of fisheries, in a non-discriminatory manner. They will work closely with other coastal states and in international fora, including to manage shared stocks.

– Within the context of the overall economic partnership the Parties should establish a new fisheries agreement on, inter alia, access to waters and quota shares.

– The Parties will use their best endeavours to conclude and ratify their new fisheries agreement by 1 July 2020 in order for it to be in place in time to be used for determining fishing opportunities for the first year after the transition period.

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