Tavish Scott gives his views on the Brussels fishing charade.
Fisheries ministers will drink gallons of coffee and all speak at great length, but most of them won’t know one end of a haddock from the other.
That is how the EU currently decides how much fish our vessels can catch and what the processing industry across Scotland will, therefore, have to sell.
The annual pre-Christmas EU Fisheries Council is a charade and ministers would be better spending time in Brussels’ markets buying presents.
Deals have already been done for many of the key quotas and as usual the Norwegians have done very well.
Increased catch limits, notably for blue whiting, and other changes help their industry.
The Norwegian fisheries minister will be in an Oslo bar celebrating – job done, with the European Commission outmanoeuvred and out-negotiated.
With this track record, the UK’s best hope for Brexit is that the EU fishing negotiators are moved to the EU-UK talks after Article 50 is triggered in March.
Scotland’s fish processing industry needs continuing access to the single market. We sell vast quantities of product into continental Europe. That needs to continue.
Our catching sector wants an end to the Common Fisheries Policy and rightly so as the EU’s track record is lamentable.
Scotland needs coastal state fisheries management where science is understood and up-to-date, and which reflects the notable sacrifices and changes the fleet has been through. That’s the future and not Brussels centralised, top-down control.