When I read nowadays about the UK’s marine wild capture fishing industry and ‘quota’ I am reminded of an article written in 2018 by the Labour Party’s John Prescott. He wrote for the Mirror newspaper under the headline: “Greed sank the UK’s fishing industry, not the EU”.
He wrote: “… the (UK) Government actually decides how its EU fishing quota is distributed. If it really cared about the fishing industry, it would ensure these coastal communities with smaller vessels were allowed to fish more. Instead, we have larger foreign vessels being registered in the UK but landing their fish overseas. Brexit won’t change that. The Government can but it has done nothing.”
An article in The Independent as far back as 1996 exposed how the UK government had permitted the sale of quota to non-UK business interests. It noted this going back to the 80’s:
“… British trawler owners sold their boats to the Spanish and Dutch. Or in some cases they sold them to British brokers, who sold them to the Spanish and Dutch. Why? Because they were offering the best price.”
“Why were the foreign skippers so keen to buy British boats? Because under British, not EU, regulations, if you bought the boat, you also got the licence to fish and a guaranteed share of the national (i.e. the UK’s) quota.”
So post-Brexit when the ‘patriotic’ British fishing businesses succeed in obtaining additional quota under the new UK regime will they once again be permitted to sell them on to the highest bidder from wherever? Let’s hope what you report Ludo will address some of these issues to the benefit of ALL Scotland’s fishing communities and not just the big, vocal interest group in Peterhead!