The indefatigable Tom Hay, Honorary Chairman of FAL, has written a letter to the Buchan Observer, to be published this week, that replies to Richard Lochhead's latest praise of the so-called CFP reforms. Here is the letter in full.

Dear Editor

It is inexcusable that Richard Lochhead should continue to propagate the fallacy that the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) can be reformed. FAL has advised him time and again that the real CFP – equal access to a common resource- cannot be reformed. Yet he carries on regardless. See Buchan Observer March 19 2013.

It serves the purpose of course of misleading the few Scottish fishermen who are left, that something can be done through negotiations to bring to a halt the clear intentions of the treaties - of driving British fishermen out of their own fishing grounds in favour of a predatory armada of fishermen from the other member states of the EU, predominately operating in what are British waters under international law.

He is of course referring to the temporary derogation from the real CFP which terminates at the end of a prescribed period.. He must be aware that the Conservative Administration in 1972 under the treacherous Edward Heath, surrendered by treaty British fishing grounds, fishing rights, and fish stocks to an alien, unelected foreign power, and thereby establishing the CFP.

Should he doubt the veracity of this, he will very easily find out the truth by reading the fishing debates in Parliament in the early 1970’s, or paying a visit to the Public Record Office in Kew London, which might even be better, since he will find out just how Parliament deceived the very people by whom it was elected.

During these debates, the House of Commons was prophetically warned, mostly by Labour Members of Parliament, that the disastrous circumstances which now prevail in the British Fishing Industry were inevitable, and could not be averted if we transferred by treaty exclusive competence to “Brussels” for the conservation and management of all living marine resources within British waters.

The Treaties of Accession make it crystal clear that all species of fish within the waters of all EU maritime nations, are a common resource to which all EU member state’s fishermen have an equal right of access.

This is the real, ugly, one and only CFP, which cannot be reformed, and Richard Lochhead is doing himself and his Party a great deal of harm. If he wants to continue as a servant of the Scottish people in another SNP administration, and perhaps even in an independent Scotland after 18 September 2014 then he needs to stop propagating this travesty of the truth now, and find the courage to return to the position he adopted in 2006 when as Shadow Minister for Environment, Rural Affairs, Energy and Fisheries he stated: The Common Fisheries Policy will always undermine our efforts to take the industry forward to better times. Only when Scotland regains control of our own waters will we be able to plot a course for our fishing communities.

Thomas Hay

Honorary Chairman FAL

It would be nice to think that Richard Lochhead and, more importantly, his officials would read this and ponder over it.

It is always fascinating to see the media stumble on something that many of us have known for some time but, as the saying goes, better late than never. In this case a Reuters journalist went to Whitby and spoke to at least one fisherman there. The fisherman was not happy and neither were his few remaining colleagues.
Negotiating fishing quotas with Brussels has long been a source of friction for Britain.

The European Union sets limits on how much fish EU member states can catch every year, saying it helps conserve stocks and protect the health of the seas.

But in places like Whitby, home of centuries of seafaring, people blame the EU for destroying their livelihoods.

In the debate on whether Britain should leave the club altogether in a possible referendum by 2017, for many living off the sea, the answer is clear.

They would all vote to be out of the EU and they may even get the chance to do so if that referendum ever takes place.