Throughout the Brexit process, Westminster Tory governments have set up Scotland’s fishing communities as a bargaining chip in their Brexit negotiations.
Now, it’s become clearer than ever that Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal is a complete sell-out.
The Brexit fishing sell-out
From the start, the UK government has set up Scotland’s fisheries as a bargaining chip in the Brexit negotiations – proving that just like Edward Heath and Margaret Thatcher, Boris Johnson’s Tories see our fishing communities as simply “expendable”.
The Scottish Tories said they would vote against any Brexit deal that didn’t restore “complete control and full sovereignty” of Scotland’s waters.
It’s now beyond doubt that Brexit doesn’t even come close to delivering that.
🇪🇺🐟 Scottish Government analysis of the Brexit deal shows Scotland’s fisheries can’t catch as much as they did in the EU.@FergusEwingMSP “Key stocks the Scottish industry depends on, far from seeing a big increase, there will be a fall in the quantity of fish they can land.”
— Lee Pirie (@LeePirie) December 29, 2020
New Scottish Government analysis reveals that far from having, as promised, substantial increased opportunities in the future’, the Scottish fishing industry will have access to fewer valuable fish stocks (such as cod, whiting and haddock) than under the CFP arrangements – even at the end of the five and half year phase-in period.
A better deal for fishing is the only Brexit justification the Tories have ever been able to offer Scotland. This analysis shows just how spectacularly they’ve broken that promise. For some key stocks the deal actually delivers a worse outcome than the CFP https://t.co/oiB71zomYp
— Nicola Sturgeon (@NicolaSturgeon) December 29, 2020
Despite all that, the Scottish Tories are now enthusiastically backing the Brexit deal with a fishing arrangement that they themselves, in 2018, called a “betrayal of Scotland”.
Yet again, Douglas Ross and his MPs have broken their promises to Scotland’s fishing communities, only to side with Boris Johnson at any cost.
“It would be easier to get someone to drink a pint of cold sick than try to sell this as a success”: UK ministers accused of “massive sellout” of Scottish fishing industry on Brexit https://t.co/iQv7bbnY4x @theipaper #Brexit #CFP pic.twitter.com/BgEY35C1Bw
— Chris Green (@ChrisGreenNews) March 19, 2018
Scottish seafood exporters “caught in a net of bureaucracy”
The Scottish seafood industry has hit out at the Tory Brexit chaos, which has “unleashed layer upon layer of administrative problems, resulting in queues, border refusals and utter confusion“.
Welcome to the Modern world of BREXIT and the mess it brings , unbelievable that we find ourselves in this position, we need governments to cover our claims this week, we have lost thousands of pounds by doing nothing wrong @Feorlean @FergusEwingMSP @scotfoodjames @BorisJohnson pic.twitter.com/QR3VcFDz6y
— Lochfyne langoustines Ltd & Lochfyne seafarms Ltd (@LochfyneLangous) January 7, 2021
Contrary to the Brexiteers’ promises of less red tape and bureaucracy, this extreme Tory Brexit is causing a pile-up of extra bureaucracy for exporters – which is causing tonnes of perishable goods ending up wasted, and millions of pounds lost as a result.
Indeed, Seafood Scotland has warned that “in a very short time, we could see the destruction of a centuries-old market which contributes significantly to the Scottish economy.” This was definitely not on the side of a Brexit bus.
👇 Scottish seafood exporters hit by perfect storm of Brexit disruption https://t.co/YmTcx5wKoN
— Kirsten Oswald MP (@kirstenoswald) January 8, 2021
“Full control” of Scottish waters: broken Tory promise
The Scottish Tories and the UK government promised the UK and Scotland would have “full control” over its waters after Brexit.
Douglas Ross said: “any final deal that does not deliver, unequivocally, full control over fish stocks and vessel access will not have my support.”
However, the Brexit deal states that EU fishing boats will have access to Scottish waters for at least five and a half years, and the new Scottish Government analysis reveals this period may prove difficult to avoid becoming permanent.
There is no full control – nothing like it.
What happened to Douglas Ross, Alister Jack, David Mundell, David Duguid, John Lamont and the Scottish Tory MPs who said they would not support a Brexit deal if it broke Tory promises of “complete control and full sovereignty” on fishing?https://t.co/L8yyv6kTtN pic.twitter.com/J1CCgvoJS0
— Tom French (@tomfrench85) December 29, 2020
Annual negotiations on access: broken Tory promise
Brexiteers have promised that getting ‘our own seat at the table’ in annual negotiations would result in gains for our fishing interests.
Scottish Tory MPs such as Alister Jack and Douglas Ross promised that access and shares of fish caught in UK waters would be negotiated on an annual basis. Anything else, they said, would mean leaving the Common Fisheries Policy “in name only“.
However, with Boris Johnson’s disastrous Brexit deal, our ability to do that has actually been removed. The swapping of fish stock quotas with individual member states will no longer be allowed and leasing will be prohibitively expensive – reducing the quantity of fish in key stocks available for the Scottish industry to land, potentially putting jobs and livelihoods at risk.
Scottish fishing industry ‘deeply aggrieved’ by Brexit deal https://t.co/hvtSAqQbkI
— BBC North East Scot (@BBCNorthEast) December 29, 2020
No “pre-existing arrangement” on quota shares: broken Tory promise
The Scottish Tories promised no “pre-existing arrangement” would be in force, and again suggested they will not back any deal that fails to deliver it.
Avoiding a permanent link between access to waters and access to markets was a key UK government objective – but the UK government has failed on that front too.
According to the Scottish Government analysis of the Brexit deal’s impact on fishing, reductions in access to waters give the other party the right to impose tariff measures on fisheries products – another damaging impact of this Tory Brexit being imposed on Scotland’s aquaculture industry.
— Dan O’Donoghue (@MrDanDonoghue) January 6, 2021