Banff and Buchan MP David Duguid has called on the SNP government to “get behind” the Scottish fishing industry as new powers come to Holyrood as part of the UK’s flagship Fisheries Bill.
The UK Government introduced the legislation to parliament on Wednesday (January 29). The Bill provides a legal guarantee that the whole of the UK will leave the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) in December this year and creates powers to set quotas, fishing opportunities and days at sea.
With 52% of fish landed in the UK coming ashore at Peterhead, Fraserburgh and Lerwick, the Scottish fishing industry is central to UK Government plans to realise the benefits of Brexit.
The Scottish Government will be given powers to protect offshore marine habitats from the impacts of fishing, as well as amend regulations on aquatic animal disease in the same way that the UK Government will be able to do.
The Bill provides powers enabling the Scottish Ministers to amend technical fisheries regulations, equivalent to those provided to the UK Government. This is a critical power which will allow the Scottish Government to move away from the CFP after the implementation period in a measured and controlled way.
The Scottish Government, along with the UK Government and other fisheries administrations, will set out in a joint statement how they will work together to achieve the Bill’s sustainability objectives.
Mr Duguid said: “This legislation paves the way for the Scottish fishing industry to seize the huge benefits from leaving the EU and the CFP.
“For the first time since 1973, the UK will have control over who comes into our waters, when they come in and how much they catch.
“We will be an independent coastal state, negotiating annually on quota and reciprocal access, just like Norway, Iceland and the Faroe Islands already do.
“As promised, this Fisheries Bill will also mean more powers coming to the Scottish Parliament - with control over management plans for stocks.
“Scottish Ministers will have the same powers as UK Ministers for amending technical regulations, allowing our fishing sector to move away from the CFP in a sensible and measured way.
“It is time for the SNP government to get behind the industry in Scotland and look positively at our exit from the CFP, rather than trying to drag our fishermen back in, against their will, by re-joining the EU.”