Both the National Federation of Fishermens Associations, representing much of the English fishing industry, and the Scottish Fishermen’s Federation have slammed the outcome of the Christmas Eve deal between the EU and the UK.
“It is unlikely that obstacles in the road will now derail the ratification process, but the fishing industry will want it clearly understood that the best opportunity in a generation for a different and better future has been squandered,” the NFFO stated following the deal announcement.
“This was a decision taken at the highest political levels and it is important that responsibility is taken for the choices made.”
The bitterest pill for the UK industry is that EU vessels retain access to the 6-12 mile zone, ending which had been a central industry demand.
“Throughout the fishing industry there is a profound sense of disillusionment, betrayal, and fury that after all the rhetoric, promises and assurances, the Government caved in on fish,” the NFFO states.
SFF chief executive Elspeth Macdonald said that on the surface the agreement does not appear to deliver on the industry’s aspirations.
“What has been outlined so far is that full access will be granted to EU vessels for effectively six years from January,” she said.
“The principles that the Government said it supported – control over access, quota shares based on zonal attachment, annual negotiations – do not appear to be central to the agreement. After all the promises given to the industry, that is hugely disappointing.”