Alistair Carmichael, MP for Orkney and Shetland, will call on the Government during todays debate on the Fisheries bill to ensure that the voices of UK Fishermen are not frozen out of the fisheries management programme as the UK leaves the EU. The Transition deal means that the UK fishing industry will remain subject to decisions made under the Common Fisheries Policy, while they have no say in what those rules ought to be.
During the debate later today, Mr. Carmichael will say:
"The question that I want the Minister to answer is how the voice of our fishermen will be heard during the period after March next year and before the end of 2020, when the transitional arrangements will come to a conclusion. It was put to me rather graphically, and rather well, by a representative from Shetland Fishermen today, who said, “If you are not at the table, you will be on the menu.” We face that real risk during the transitional period.
"How will we influence things such as the annual EU-Norway talks? How, in practical terms, when it comes to the renegotiation of the mackerel deal between the EU, Norway, the Faroes and Iceland, we will be able to get our point across. Essentially, we were rolled over once by the EU Commission on that. When we are not sitting at the table at the end of next year, how will we ensure that that does not happen again? Those concerns are not fanciful or insubstantial."
Speaking before the debate, Mr. Carmichael said:
“The Fishing Bill is one of the most impactful pieces of legislation for the fishing industry considered by the UK parliament for decades, and it is important that we get it right. Fishermen’s voices must be heard in Parliament, and this bill must be truly reflective of their needs and priorities.
“At the moment, the transition deal risks exposing UK fishing communities to serious damage, if they are to be subject to rules which they have had no part in drafting. That would be the worst possible outcome for everyone.
“I have met with representatives of the fishing industry and marine conservation campaigners to hear their priorities, and I will be bringing those thoughts and comments to the Chamber.”