Fish­ers warn of trad­ing ac­cess rights

The Press and Journal (Aberdeenshire) - - NEWS -

Fish­ing in­dus­try chiefs have warned they would “re­act sav­agely” to any at­tempt to use rights of ac­cess to UK wa­ters as a bar­gain­ing chip in the Brexit ne­go­ti­a­tions.

Ber­tie Arm­strong, chief ex­ec­u­tive of the Scot­tish Fish­er­men’s Fed­er­a­tion, said he had not yet re­ceived as­sur­ances from the UK Gov­ern­ment that this would not hap­pen.

But he in­sisted noth­ing should be ceded up to the point of Brexit when the UK is “in charge, in the chair­man’s seat”.

“Clearly, it’s the big­gest thing we want to have as­sur­ance about,” he told the Press and Jour­nal.

“This is a nat­u­ral re­source that will be here – un­like a lot of other ex­trac­tive in­dus­tries – in hun­dreds of years if it’s sus­tain­ably man­aged and caught.

“Why on earth would you give it away?”

Mr Arm­strong and other in­dus­try rep­re­sen­ta­tives will meet UK min­is­ters, in­clud­ing En­vi­ron­ment Sec­re­tary Andrea Lead­som and Scot­tish Sec­re­tary David Mun­dell to­day.

He agreed ev­ery­thing would be up for grabs in the ne­go­ti­a­tions, but added: “That doesn’t mean it’s cer­tain you’ll lose.

“We don’t know when it will come up in the ne­go­ti­a­tions, but our strong point is, don’t let it come up.

“Fish­ing should stand alone. It should not be con­flated with other parts of the ar­gu­ment.”

Post-Brexit, Mr Arm­strong said there would be a po­ten­tial dou­bling of eco­nomic ac­tiv­ity, a lot of it in ar­eas that need the op­por­tu­nity.

He added: “We need to be out of the Com­mon Fish­eries Pol­icy.

“We will re­act sav­agely to any pos­si­bil­ity of be­ing dragged back in­side it.”

Asked if they would re­act in the same way to the prospect of this op­por­tu­nity be­ing traded away, he replied: “Yes. The end re­sult would be the same thing – a fail­ure to take ad­van­tage of what in­ter­na­tional law of­fers you on a plate with salad round it.”

Ber­tie Arm­strong says fish­ing should ‘stand alone’

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