Alistair Carmichael, MP for Orkney and Shetland, has cautiously welcomed the UK Government’s White Paper on the future of the fishing industry. The White paper outlines the Government’s proposed strategy for fisheries management once the UK transitions out of the EU. Mr. Carmichael noted the positive improvements which will see a greater share of catch going to British Fishermen, and a more sustainable ecosystem approach.
Speaking in the House of Commons, Mr. Carmichael said:
“Can I welcome the substance in this white paper. It has many of the things that I have long wanted and which the fishermen in my constituency would want to see there. Of course, whether we see it happen in the future will depend on the Government’s ability to hold fast on its promises on separating trade and access to waters, or at the very least to hold a bit faster than they did on the transitional arrangements.
“Looking to the future of fisheries management the real opportunity here surely, is to do things differently for our smaller inshore fleets and will he take as his guiding principle a presumption of local management when it comes to arranging these opportunities for the future.”
Responding on behalf of the Government, the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Secretary, the Rt. Hon. Michael Gove MP, said:
“I am very grateful to the Rt. Hon. Gentleman for the generous and constructive tone he takes ,which is of a piece with all his contributions in this House, and absolutely, Orkney and Shetland in particular are communities that we want to work with precisely in the way the Rt. Hon. Member mentions.”
Speaking after the exchange, Mr. Carmichael added:
“The white paper has a lot of good intentions. Our fisheries management must be long-term, sustainable, and most importantly of all, it must work for the communities involved in the fishing industry.
“The test for the Government will be in the delivery. Fishermen will remember well the Conservative promises to pull the UK out of the CFP in 2019, a promise which has since been abandoned. If the they do not keep their promises on who will have access to our waters in the future then these proposals will turn not be worth the white paper they are written on.”