Apology needed as government U-turns on medical certificates for small fishing vessels – Carmichael

27 Mar 2024

Orkney and Shetland MP, Alistair Carmichael has welcomed news that the government has today U-turned on medical certificate requirements for fishing vessels under 10m, but called for ministers to apologise for the fear created by the policy. After a consultation with the industry, the government will waive the requirement for ML5 medical checks for fishermen on vessels measuring 10 metres and under.

Following extensive lobbying by Mr Carmichael and fishing organisations, the government agreed to review and revise the policy at the end of last year.

In November, after the planned start to enforcement of the ML5 rules, the government reversed course and allowed for greater flexibility and “grandfather” rights for fishermen, and an extension of the deadline for grandfather rights to be applied to medical certificates to 30 April 2024.

Mr Carmichael said:

“Retracting this policy is a good step but it would have been better not to start down this road in the first place. It should not have taken a consultation – after the policy was supposed to come into force no less – for the government to change course.

“Fishermen around the country have been in fear for their livelihoods because of this policy from the Conservatives. It is really not good enough to act as though nothing has happened. Ministers should not be trying to claim credit – they should be apologising to coastal communities.

“The Secretary of State seems to think that fishermen have pretty poor memories. He will find, I suspect, that they have quite a good recollection of this government’s abysmal record on fishing when the general election comes later this year.”

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