Na h-Eileanan an Iar SNP MSP Alasdair Allan last night participated in a Scottish Parliament debate on the future of the fishing industry and the Scottish Fishermen’s Federation’s “A Sea of Opportunity” campaign.
Alasdair Allan commented:
“This was a welcome opportunity to highlight the needs of Island fishing communities during the Brexit process. This is something that, so far, has not featured high up on the UK Government’s negotiating agenda. Indeed, the only mention of fishing during the Prime Minister’s keynote speech on Brexit was a reassurance directed at Spanish fishermen.
"The Common Fisheries Policy has been no friend to Scotland’s fishermen and the SNP as a party has never been shy about saying that. Donnie Stewart as MP for the Western Isles and SNP party leader was a particularly strong voice of opposition in the face of a UK Government whose only view of the Scottish fishing industry was as a bargaining chip.
"However, a number of island fishermen have told me that, although they took a different view of Brexit from mine, they are appalled by the prospect of not being in the single market. Another risk facing the fishing industry is the sheer overwhelming priority that the UK Government appears to be giving, above all other considerations, to ending the freedom of movement of people.
"The Scottish Government has put forward detailed proposals for mitigating the impact on Scotland of the UK’s exit from the EU which would envisage Scotland leaving the CFP while staying in the single market. The ball is now in the UK Government’s court and I hope they will take the needs of the islands' and Scotland’s fishing industry more seriously."