Tuesday, 19 June 2018



Fishermen’s leaders push hard for positive Brexit outcome

Scottish fishermen’s leaders held positive talks this week with senior politicians and civil servants as they pressed the case for restoration of sovereignty over UK waters post-Brexit.

One of their meetings was with Olly Robbins, head of the Prime Minister’s Brexit unit, as they seek to persuade key decision makers in Number 10, DexEU, DEFRA and the Treasury that undiluted control is the key, with access and quota negotiated from a position of authority as a Coastal State.

Chief executive of the Scottish Fishermen’s Federation Bertie Armstrong said: “Yesterday we saw the European Parliament vote to link access to our resources with trade and to retain 60% of our seafood resource. This simply cannot be allowed to happen – decisions in our waters as to who fishes for what and when will be ours to take under international law.

“This does not mean that there won’t be access for EU fleets, rather that it will be on our terms and not enforced by a system which currently entitles our vessels to a mere 40 per cent of the natural capital of the UK Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).

“It is fair to say that we have had a positive reception during our various meetings this week. We will continue to walk every avenue in pursuit of a Brexit deal for fishing that we can all sign up to.”

The 2018 Bi-Annual Scottish Fishing Conference (BASFC) will focus on the future of fishing and the seafood industry in Scotland, taking into account its importance in a nation with such an extensive marine environment.

The first half day of the BASFC on 9 July will follow the successful format of 2016, showcasing some of the research FIS has been conducting and offering an opportunity to hear about important topics for the future. Speakers will talk about many different projects, from a study trip to Denmark to the survivability of nephrops. The conference will hear about currently running FIS projects, and the Chair of FIS will set the scene for Day 2.

Day 2 of the conference on 10 July will be opened by Fergus Ewing MSP (the Cabinet Secretary for Rural Economy and Connectivity), and Fergus will be joined by Fisheries Ministers from other northern nations. Together with Bertie Armstrong (SFF), all four speakers will set out their visions for the future of their fishing industries in these uncertain times. There will be the opportunity for wide-ranging discussions with delegates. The conference will also hear about the future of the Scottish industry from the perspective of NGOs, retailers and those tasked with providing our world-leading science. There will be a "Question time" session at the close of the day, with an expert panel tackling some of the key questions about the future management of the industry.

There will be ample opportunity for informal networking.

The full programme will be available soon.

Numbers are limited so early booking is recommended. This conference will be of particular interest to fishermen and vessel owners; fishing industry organisations; policy makers; fisheries scientists/managers, and other users of the marine environment.

The conference dinner will be held in Lower College Hall on 9 July - there is a charge for this. See http://www.fiscot.org/conference/2018-basfc/ for details and payment.

Delegates should make their own accommodation arrangements. B&B accommodation is available to book at the University's Agnes Blackadder Hall by contacting agnes.blackadder@st-andrews.ac.uk. Other accommodation is of course available within St Andrews and the surrounding area.