Orkney and Shetland MP, Alistair Carmichael, today highlighted the risks of a centralised fisheries policy post-Brexit in a Westminster debate on fisheries. Mr. Carmichael noted the risk of repeating the harm caused by a centralised policy on fisheries and called for a more dynamic policy using fishermen’s views and up-to-date science.
Speaking at the debate, Mr. Carmichael said:
“The next few months are going to be formative for the future of fisheries management in this country. Unless the promises that have been made to fishing communities are honoured in full then there will be a heavy political price to be paid in the future.
“When it comes to remote, centralised mismanagement of fisheries, our Governments in London and Edinburgh are just as capable of treating the industry with the same high-handed attitude.
“What matters is that the science on which the decisions are made is sound and considered in a timely manner. Using ICES [International Council for the Exploration of the Sea] advice when it is two years out of date before it informs a decision is wrong and unproductive. The industry will be looking to the Minister to ensure they deliver on that.”
Responding at the end of the debate, the Minister of State for Fisheries, George Eustice MP said:
“Our approach will be to move away from the unfair and unscientific Relative Stability Sharing Mechanism to a modern more scientific approach.
“We will use our best endeavours to get a partnership by July. If we do not we will still negotiate as an independent coastal state.”
Reacting after the debate, Mr. Carmichael said:
“Taking back control of fisheries will be meaningless if we swap central planning in Brussels for more central planning in London or Edinburgh. The Government must aim for a dynamic system, in which the knowledge of fishermen who know their waters is combined with up-to-date scientific advice. It is essential that we learn from the mistakes of the Common Fisheries Policy and do not repeat them.”