Fishing industry challenges election candidates to support Brexit sea of opportunity

SFF chief executive, Bertie Armstrong.
SFF chief executive, Bertie Armstrong.

The UK fishing industry is challenging candidates in the General Election to pledge their support for its priority of restoring control of UK waters.

Fishermen’s leaders insist that exiting the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) is the only way of ending the farcical situation under which the country is forced to give away almost two-thirds of the fish from some of the richest fishing grounds in the world.

Candidates in all 650 parliamentary constituencies will be invited to sign the pledge prior to the election on June 8.

Bertie Armstrong, chief executive of the Scottish Fishermen’s Federation, said: “The whole industry, from those who go to sea through the processors to the hauliers, is united behind one simple aim – our coming out of the EU and the CFP.

“Brexit offers us a huge opportunity to re-assert control of our waters and to establish once and for all a sensible, practicable new fisheries management regime.

“We as an industry have repeatedly stated that we will work with the UK and Scottish governments to achieve this, and we hope that candidates will support the prospect of jobs and security for our beleaguered coastal communities by signing this pledge.”

The full text of the pledge reads:

As a candidate in the General Election I pledge my support to the following declaration:

"Brexit offers a ‘Sea of Opportunity’ for fishing communities the length and breadth of the country as it will allow us to restore control of our waters, which are home to some of the richest fishing grounds in the world.

"We must maximise this opportunity for the benefit of the UK fishing industry – processors, hauliers and fishmongers as well as those at sea – and for consumers.

"We urge the industry and Government to work together to establish a sensible, practicable new fisheries management regime for the post-Brexit era.”

In particular: "Access to our fishing grounds should be an issue for post-Brexit negotiations when we have become a Coastal State.”

And: "We must avoid any policy, practice, regulation or treaty which could return us to the Common Fisheries Policy and the enforced giveaway of almost two-thirds of our fish stocks.”