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2 February 2020

Scottish Fishing Industry to be Left High and Dry by Johnston's Brexit

Northern Ireland Deal Leaves Scotland at Disadvantage

The Scottish fishing industry is set to be left high and dry by Brexit, with the agreement reached for Northern Ireland leaving Scotland at a competitive disadvantage.

Even in the event that no trade deal is reached between the UK and Europe in the months ahead, Northern Ireland would face no tariffs or trade barriers with the EU.

That means that fishermen in Northern Ireland would have unfettered access to 500 million consumers in Europe’s single market, while Scottish vessels do not — potentially devastating sales of Scottish fish and an entire processing and haulage sector.

Alternately, Scottish vessels could move their registration to Northern Ireland to maintain market access which would also hammer Scottish ports, most of the onshore sector and thousands of jobs in Scotland.
Those in the small-batch, high-value export seafood business such as creel fishermen may be hit particularly hard with Alistair Sinclair from the Scottish Creel Fishermen’s Federation telling BBC Scotland that trade barriers could “kill the sector stone dead if we can’t get access to markets”.

Commenting, Stewart Stevenson MSP said:

“Boris Johnson has made huge promises to Scottish fishing which he knows he can’t keep.

“Scottish fishing looks set to be sold out once again.

“The only agreement so far reached is for Northern Ireland’s fishing industry. Scotland it appears is a low-priority afterthought.

“The danger now to an entire industry is real and deeply troubling.

“Some skippers and their crews will simply decide they cannot compete when placed at such a disadvantage and hang up their oilskins for good.

“Others might move their home ports to Northern Ireland — though that would decimate an entire onshore processing sector, with thousands of jobs lost. It would be a disaster.

“Scotland didn’t vote for any of this, and the SNP won’t stand idly by as the Tories kill off another proud Scottish industry.

“We need the full powers of independence so we can fight for jobs and a brighter future.”

Stewart Stevenson
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