A UK Policy Vital Not Remaining through Devolution

Fishing for Leave blasted, but are not surprised, at the Scottish Fishermen’s Federation (SFF) statement that they believe power over fisheries should be entirely devolved to Holyrood post-Brexit.

“The SFF argue that the Scottish government is best placed to decide fishing policy for Scottish waters…not UK ministers”.

This position appears to fly in the face of the majority of Scottish fishermen lambasting the SNP and their position of remaining in the EU whilst supporting the Conservatives.

This volte face is not surprising – behind the façade of the SFF being for Brexit the whole situation revolves around short term self-interest, power politics and desire to Remain as closely aligned to the status quo.

There is only one “power grab that will bring damage to industry” and that is these 3 things driving the SFF volte face;

As the industry has been forced to contract due to the disastrous CFP it has seen a consolidation of quota entitlement to the hands of a few.

This minority running the SFF never wanted Brexit and desire to keep the status quo for self-interest as they feel they have consolidated enough entitlement and garnered a position in the northern North Sea where ‘they’re alright jack’.

This is the real “power grab”- that the SFF would quite happily see a Scottish fiefdom. Which they hope to exercise direct control and influence over in Edinburgh, where the SNP administration are only too happy to oblige remaining with the status quo of policy mirroring the EU.

The reason, we believe, is the SFF fear that Westminster has the desire and determination to implement new, bespoke UK policy that ends the status quo of a failed CFP system which causes discards and which has decimated the industry – driving the consolidation to the minority running the SFF who don’t want change.

This is in stark contrast to the majority of fishermen and coastal constituencies who overwhelmingly voted for Brexit to get away from the status quo and voted Conservative rather than SNP to avoid being sucked back into the EU.

Advocating total devolution is seditious and short sighted.

It would be all too easy for the SNP to offer up fishing in its bid to re-accede to the EU of which the CFP is one of the obligations of membership. If the SFF truly are for Brexit why align with this evident danger? It rather suggests that those running the SFF are still not really for Brexit and haven’t changed their spots!

It plays right into the bigger politics of regionalization of the member states through devolution with the aim of easy absorption and direct control by Brussels. It plays right into the hands of those who want to remain in EU across the political spectrum and who would happily see the break-up of Britain whilst still being controlled by Brussels.

With politics still being fought as Remain vs Brexit across the political divide, a few pro-remain Scots Conservatives have been helping the SFF advance this position in the corridors of power. What we have is three parties-

  • SFF – for vested interest in the current system & greater influence in a Scottish fiefdom
  • SNP –  for independence by increments and remaining with the EU
  • Some Scots Conservatives – who are slavishly pro-EU & anti-Brexit despite the public façade.

The following statement comes close to this truth “The SFF warned that, if Scottish ministers had to go to Westminster to amend every fishing regulation, this would limit their ability to manage Scottish waters effectively” .

Fishing for Leave – the only fishermen’s organisation to represent members from across the whole of the United Kingdom – are only interested in what’s best for the future of the British industry nation-wide – that is not served by the balkanization of UK waters within our Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) into 4 competing administrative areas.

FFL resolutely maintain that only Westminster has the authority and ability as the government of the nation state to represent the United Kingdom internationally and that power and policy over fisheries must be retained at nation state level.

There must be an overall UK framework or else there will be regulatory divergence between each of the 4 administrations – this will make it operationally difficult for British vessels as they move between 4 different and possible conflicting sets of rules.

Therefore, ALL powers must be retained at Westminster as they are repatriated upon withdrawal from the EU. To avoid balkanization of UK waters, to avoid regulatory divergence and to avoid fishing being weaponized as part of independence by increments and dragged back into the EU.

Fishing for Leave fully supports Her Majesty’s government in doing so along with implementation of new, bespoke British policy that works for all fishermen from largest to smallest across the entire United Kingdom.