Wednesday, 11 June 2014

From FAL's June Newsletter

First of all, here is an interesting time line that we have referred to before. It is always good to be reminded of such matters:

SNP TIME LINE -- from National Control to EU Integration 2003 Alex Salmond launches Bill to withdraw from Common Fisheries Policy.

2006 SNP October Conference, Richard Lochhead refers to ‘elephant in the room’ the CFP 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 into calmer waters for our fishing communities”.

2007 SNP’s Manifesto -A better future outside the CFP The SNP will continue to work for withdrawal from the Common Fisheries Policy and will not support any future European Constitution that grants the EU "exclusive competence" over this valuable resource. We will work with our partners to enlist support for the repatriation of fisheries responsibilities to member states.

2008 31 July FAL’s first meeting with Richard Lochhead as Cabinet Secretary when he reaffirmed the SNP and therefore the new Scottish Government’s stated aim of withdrawal from the CFP and restoring national control.

2012 Your Scotland Your Future “With independence we will remain part of the EU.” Richard Lochhead 2014 Independence will result in direct representation in the European Union and ability to negotiate our priorities without compromise.

2014 The SNP’s policy of repatriation of fisheries, of the aspiration of national control has been discarded

So that's that. For whatever reason the SNP does not envisage an "independent within the EU" Scotland running its fisheries policy. Instead, the EU will continue to decide matters centrally, for political reasons and then generously hand over a few details of administration to the regions. Nor will Scotland be negotiating with Norway, Russia, Iceland or Greenland - the EU will be doing that.

That are other interesting pieces in the Newsletter, to be discussed and dissected in future postings.

The Daily Post has an article about what they see as a worrying development for Welsh fishermen.

Traditional sea fishing on the Welsh coast is in danger of of being wiped out under new EU rules due next year.

Scores of fishing families, many of whom have fished the coast for generations, have been thrown into a panic by plans to prohibit drift netting.

The blanket ban, due January 2015, was proposed following concerns some fishermen were flouting existing rules designed to protect tuna, dolphins, sharks and other marine animals.

Nothing wrong with trying to protect various marine animals who die unnecessarily in some of the drift nets. However, the Welsh fishermen say that this does not apply to them:

But fishermen on the Dee estuary claim the problem is limited to the Mediterranean and has no relevance to Welsh fishermen, who use small, mesh nets for catching plaice, flounder and sea bass.

If the ban goes ahead, some 70 vessels will be at risk around Wales as in-shore fishermen are prevented from using any other gear, such as fixed nets.

These matters should be discussed properly. Unfortunately, as long as we are in the Common Fisheries Policy (and as long as we are in the EU, we are in the CFP) this is not an argument that can be used. The policy may be implemented regionally after the so-called reforms but it is decided centrally, often as a result of political horse trading. (Well, all right, shark trading.)