Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

Skippers could be forced to sell up because of “ridiculous” ruling

Skipper Terry Jack on board his trawler, Nereus. He is forced to fish miles from his home waters because of the Home Office ruling.
Skipper Terry Jack on board his trawler, Nereus. He is forced to fish miles from his home waters because of the Home Office ruling.

A west coast fisherman has spoken out about “impossible” Home Office rules that he claims could drive him out of business.

Terry Jack – and others – say their livelihoods are at risk because they are not allowed to operate within 12 miles of the UK mainland if they take on crew from outside the European Union.

They say Border Force staff stop non-EU crew members from working on vessels if they are within this limit.

As a result, local boats have to travel further afield for their catches with no guarantee of success.

Skippers maintain there is a “major shortage” of locally skilled men and, if the ruling isn’t changed, they could be forced to sell their boats.

And Highland politicians are backing the fishermen’s concerns.

Western Isles MP Angus MacNeil is calling on Brandon Lewis, the UK government’s Minister of State for Immigration, to step in and help.

While Skye, Ross and Lochaber MP, Ian Blackford, hopes “this ridiculous state of affairs can be addressed.”

Mr Jack from Gairloch is a trawler skipper who fishes for prawns and langoustines.

The 41 year-old employs 10 crew – seven Britons and three Sri Lankans.

He said: “The best prawns come from West Coast waters, but I have had to go far from home to fish because of this ruling, so it’s a loss to the local economy.

“It is almost impossible to recruit locally as there is a major shortage of skilled men.

“I don’t want my business to go to the wall. But If this continues I’ll have to sell up due to rules that are impossible to adhere to.”

Skipper Angus MacLeod from Barra said: “I am trying to get my previous engineer, a Ghanaian national, to return to work on my vessel. He is being detained at Edinburgh airport on the basis that my boat doesn’t spend enough time in international waters.

“We regularly fish there, but we have to make up the numbers required to put to sea and fish safely.

“It’s extremely difficult to access a full complement of local crew.”

In March, Mr MacNeil hit out at the Home Office for failing to reintroduce a scheme which would allow non-European Economic Area, EEA, nationals to work in the industry.

He said: “This inaction is hurting the industry as it is a struggle to crew these vessels. I know of men desperate to return to the boats they worked on.”

Mr Blackford added: “This industry is vital for us so I have taken the matter up with the Home Office.”

A Home Office spokeswoman said: “It remains the government’s policy not to operate migration schemes for non-EEA nationals coming to fill vacancies at lower skill levels while employers have unrestricted access to labour from elsewhere in the EU.”

Already a subscriber? Sign in

[[title]]

[[text]]