Orkney and Shetland MP, Alistair Carmichael, has criticised Boris Johnson for claiming an “El Dorado” of opportunities for fishing in 2026, after the Prime Minister repeated widely-criticised claims that the UK would have access to all the fish in its waters after that date.
Speaking in the House of Commons the Prime Minister said:
“By 2026, the fishing people of this country will have access to all the fish in all the territorial waters of this country. To get them ready for that El Dorado, we’re investing £100 million in improving our boats our fish processing industry, and getting fishing, ready for the opportunities ahead.”
In reality the deal allows for the EU or UK to impose tariffs on the other’s exports in the event of serious disagreements over fishing access, leading many to claim that even in 2026 there may be no major change for the industry.
Reacting, Mr Carmichael said:
“The Boris Johnson talks about an “El Dorado” for fishing. Fishermen may instead reflect on the fact that “El Dorado” was a myth that led to many wasted lives searching for treasure that never existed. A fitting metaphor, then, for this Prime Minister to use.
“This idea of it all being easy when we get to 2026 was already called out by no less than the Chief Executive of the Scottish Fishermen's Federation – he should stop repeating the mistake. Meaningful improvements for the industry in 2026 would require a political will that Boris Johnson has never, ever shown on behalf of fishing when it really mattered. Future promises of mythical wealth are worth nothing when the broken promises of the present are costing fishermen right now.”