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.

Ramsay Jones: Brexit can be a sea of opportunity for our fishing industry

Post Thumbnail

Here we go: Imagine, just for a moment, if the rest of Europe were to allow Scottish cattle to graze on their finest pastures. Not just on a few scattered acres, but on half of all their best.

Or just think how it would be if our drinks industry was given 50% of the grape harvest in France and Spain each year? With Germany and Italy thrown in for good measure. And not having to buy it either. We just pop over and harvest it.

It’s not going to happen. They wouldn’t let us. We wouldn’t even think to ask. Because it wouldn’t be right.

So pause and ponder on this. Half of one of our most precious sources of food is given over to our European neighbours. We gave it away.

Our rich fishing grounds. Half the catch is to non-UK vessels.

So when our fishermen talk about Brexit being a Sea of Opportunity, they are right.

The UK’s coastal waters are some of the best in the world. If fished sensibly and sustainably, they can provide stable employment for thousands on these islands and be a growing source of some of the best food we can eat.

I’ve written here before about Brexit. It’s not going away so no apologies for doing so again because all around Scotland, our coastal communities are on the verge of a great prize.

Whatever trials and tribulations Brexit may bring, and it won’t be an easy path to tread, we have to make the most of the opportunities which it will bring as well as face up to the challenges.

And in fishing the prize is tangible and great. Brexit means that our fish are coming home.

In a landmark moment last week, the Scottish Fishermen’s Federation brokered an agreement with their English counterparts. The fishing folk of Britain could not be clearer.

Their message is simple: We must not trade away this bounty of the seas as part of any Brexit deal. Any access to our fishing grounds is a matter for Brexit Day plus one. On our terms. At our behest. After we have decided just what our capacity is and whether there is any excess quota.

And I think it highly unlikely that any legal right for foreign vessels to fish our grounds will exist. We would have to give them away as we did once before.

Now it is time for our politicians north and south of the border to back that common cause. The industry leaders are speaking with one voice and our political leaders must do the same.

That means concentrating on the prize, not squabbling about process and how to divi it up. It means resisting the desire to score constitutional points over the border, and uniting in common cause.

It has been made clear that post Brexit there will be no re-reservation of powers from Holyrood to Westminster. In other words, in issues such as fishing devolution already works, nothing changes. There is no row here. So let’s not waste breath on the issue.

Instead, lets fix our eyes on the prize. Let our coastal communities tell out politicians to get together, to talk together and to work together.

It is a Sea of Opportunity. Let’s seize it.

Already a subscriber? Sign in

[[title]]

[[text]]