Sturgeon plots keep to Scotland tied to EU as fishermen to be forced to follow hated CFP

Sturgeon will have ‘more fish than she can consume’ says PM

In a snub to Boris Johnson’s Brexit plan, the SNP led Scottish Government unveiled plans to stay aligned to the EU Common Fisheries Policy. It comes as Brexit trade deal talks led by Michel Barnier and Lord Frost continue to be an impasse on fisheries – the core sticking point of the negotiations.

The European Parliament yesterday set down a three-day deadline for post-Brexit trade deal negotiators to strike a deal, warning that MEPs will not have time to ratify an agreement this year unless it is ready by Sunday night.

On fishing, the UK Government claims the EU Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) has “long been a source of discontentment.”

Currently, present quotas are based largely on how member states fished in the 1970s and this means the UK has a poor share of the total allowable catch.

In 2018 the European fishing fleet caught over 70 per cent of the allowable catch in British waters whilst British fleets had just 30 percent.

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But the Scottish Government said they would “align to the overarching outcomes and principles which underpin the EU’s approach to fisheries – including those of the Common Fisheries Policy”.

However, the SNP made clear the approach would not prevent them from “using alternative technical and operational processes to achieve the same or better outcomes”.

The SNP-led government said they would engage directly “with the EU” to “influence future reform of the CFP where appropriate and to demonstrate leadership in addressing key issues and challenges”.

The Government’s Scotland’s Future Fisheries Management Strategy also stated new rules and regulations would also be influenced by “our aspirations for Scotland to gain independence”.

READ MORE: EU forced to ignore constant SNP attempts to meddle in Brexit talks

The strategy added: “Scotland is a major fishing nation in the north-east Atlantic and we manage our fisheries in partnership at an international level.”

The strategy has a 12 point action plan at its heart which includes a “robust” licensing regime to manage domestic and foreign vessels fishing in Scottish waters.

Alongside this, the Scottish Government will also seek to improve their quota management processes as well as develop a new catching policy for vessels.

The strategy comes despite a row between the UK Government over the Scottish Government being allowed to join in trade talks with the EU.

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Fergus Ewing, Scotland’s Rural Economy Secretary said he had seen repeated requests from the Scottish Government to participate in international negotiations on fishing denied.

Part of the controversy surrounded the UK Government’s Fisheries Bill, which creates the powers for the UK to operate as an independent coastal state and manage its fish stocks sustainably outside the EU is currently in process.

Mr Ewing claimed Scottish Government officials were “denied the opportunity to participate in the talks about a future fisheries agreement” despite repeated requests, something which No 10 denies.

The SNP administration reaffirmed to having their voice heard and said: “As a Coastal State the UK controls and manages fishing in its Exclusive Economic Zone in accordance with international obligations.

 

“We will work closely with the UK Government and as part of the UK delegation, the Scottish Government will be an active partner at international negotiations, especially in relation to stocks which are predominantly present in Scottish waters and in relation to access to Scottish waters by foreign vessels.

“We do not envision a scenario where access to Scottish waters does not form a key component of annual negotiations.”

In a statement released this evening, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and Scottish Fisheries Minister Fergus Ewing, said: “Scotland’s Future Fisheries Management Strategy reaffirms our commitment to meeting and where possible exceeding international standards, to being a competent and collaborative partner, and to championing Scotland’s fishing industry and our marine environment.

“We know fisheries can operate with consensus and under a shared set of values that works for everyone and the 12-point action plan will drive this forward, reinforcing the fact that fish are a national asset.”

It comes as Nicola Sturgeon issues a Christmas message to EU citizens in a bid to charm Brussels and anger Boris Johnson by stressing the Bloc’s citizens would always be welcome in Scotland.

Ms Sturgeon will say: “My message to everyone from the EU who lives and works here remains this: Scotland is your home, you are our family, and we’d be privileged if you would stay here with us.

“We are drawing close to the end of the Brexit transition period, and the end of a year in which we have together faced the unprecedented challenge of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“In these times of uncertainty and disruption, I would like to once again re-assure EU citizens that Scotland values you for the contribution you make to our society, our culture and our economy.

“While I don’t agree that you should have to go through an application process to secure rights that you should automatically have, I do want to ensure that you are able to stay in Scotland.”


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