Fish­ing fleets set for a sea change at dawn of a new era

Scottish Daily Mail - - BREXIT BOMBSHELL - By Alan Shields and Gra­ham Grant

IN Peter­head yes­ter­day, a Fish­ing for Leave flag flut­tered in the gloom of the sea fog.

Down at the har­bour, lo­cal fish­er­men were ju­bi­lant they will no longer have to set­tle for scraps from the Brus­sels ta­ble.

The North-East has been one of the heart­lands of the Vote Leave cam­paign, in protest at EU fish­ing quo­tas.

The Aberdeen­shire town is Europe’s largest white fish port and han­dles tens of mil­lions of pounds of fish an­nu­ally.

Yes­ter­day, many lo­cals noted the early morn­ing fish mar­ket seemed big­ger and busier than nor­mal as it got un­der way around the same time as the Brexit re­sult was of­fi­cially an­nounced.

Jimmy Buchan, 55, star of the BBC’s Trawler­men se­ries and a Peter­head fish­er­man for more than 40 years, said: ‘It’s a fan­tas­tic op­por­tu­nity for Scot­land and the UK to start a new chap­ter on our re­la­tion­ship with Europe.

‘I’ve wit­nessed col­leagues and friends forced out of busi­ness and lose their liveli­hoods, all un­der the supreme gov­er­nance of the EU. Bri­tain ex­it­ing the EU gives us the chance to rede­fine our po­si­tion in the world.’

Peter­head is mostly cov­ered by the Banff­shire and Buchan Coast con­stituency, where Re­main won 14,918 votes – and Leave 23,707.

Much of the con­tro­versy around EU fish­eries pol­icy stems from the fact that Bri­tish fleets are al­lo­cated lower quo­tas than other na­tions. In 2015, for ex­am­ple, Bri­tish fish­er­men were only al­lo­cated 5 per cent of mack­erel and 4 per cent of sprat quo­tas.

Stephen Bruce set up a mo­bile fish­mon­ger busi­ness in Peter­head ear­lier

‘A fan­tas­tic prod­uct’

this year af­ter find­ing him­self out of work due to the down­turn in the oil in­dus­try.

Mr Bruce, 55, said: ‘I pro­mote Peter­head fish and I just think what­ever hap­pens we’ve got a fan­tas­tic prod­uct here.

‘Europe will still re­quire our fish. I’ve got no wor­ries about it, we’ve got some

of the best fish in Europe. They have to get it from some­one, so I don’t think it will af­fect the ex­ports at all.

‘I think for the fish­ing in­dus­try it’s not a bad thing. The whole pic­ture over­all, only time will tell. But for the fish­ing in­dus­try it’s a good move. Be­ing dic­tated to from Brus­sels has been very bad for the in­dus­try.’

A lo­cal woman said her Brexit vote was a show of sup­port for a fish­ing fleet she claims the EU had at­tempted to de­stroy.

She added: ‘They have dec­i­mated that fleet. It’s shock­ing what has hap­pened over the last 30 years.

‘The num­ber of boats in the har­bour has just got smaller and smaller and it’s all down to the quo­tas.

‘Leav­ing the EU is the best thing that could hap­pen to what’s left of them. Let them take back some con­trol.’

De­lighted to leave the EU: The scene in Peter­head, Aberdeen­shire, yes­ter­day

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