Carmichael welcomes opening of consultation on fishing medical certificates

18 Jan 2024

Orkney and Shetland MP, Alistair Carmichael, has today welcomed the opening of a consultation by the government which could mitigate or reverse planned medical certificate requirements for fishermen. 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. The new consultation seeks views on a potential exemption from the ML5 medical certificate rules for current fishers working on vessels of 10 metres and under.

The consultation closes at 11:59pm on 27 February 2024.

Mr Carmichael said:

“The announcement of a proper consultation is a welcome step and progress towards the mitigation or outright reversal of this harmful red tape for fishermen. The one-size-fits-all medical certificate requirement never made much sense but it created grief and stress for fishermen the length and breadth of the country.

“The way that Conservative ministers and the MCA have handled the medical certificate issue stands out as one of the most cackhanded fisheries decisions I have seen in my time in politics – because it was entirely unnecessary to act in the way they did. Even so, a late change is better than nothing.

“I would urge fishermen in the isles to make their views heard in the consultation so that we get the strongest possible voice from the industry. It has taken too long for ministers to open their ears – now is the time to shout into the megaphone.”

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