In the Chamber: 27th November – safeguarding fishing communities

Rhoda questions Fergus Ewing, Cabinet Secretary for the Rural Economy and Connectivity, on what safeguards can he offer fishing communities
Rhoda :
I would like to take the cabinet secretary back to the transition agreement, under which access to UK waters and the quotas for those waters will be set by the EU in consultation with the UK, but the EU will not be bound by any obligation to get consent from the UK.
Given that the cabinet secretary has relationships with colleagues in the EU, has he had any discussions with them about how they will exercise those powers in the interim transition period?
What safeguards can he offer our fishing communities?
Fergus Ewing :
My officials have regular negotiations and discussions with colleagues precisely to get the best possible deal year on year at the fisheries negotiations.
Although those negotiations culminate in December, most of the work is done prior to December, with EU countries and with Norway and the Faroes, as the member well knows.
It is abundantly clear to everybody—apart from, it seems, the Tories—that the EU countries that have a fishing interest are determined to protect their interests.
My job is to champion the interests of the fishing sector, including the farmed fish or aquaculture sector, which has been dragged into the process at the last moment by the UK Government, without any discussion taking place with the Scottish Government or the aquaculture sector.
There is really only a Scottish aquaculture sector—as far as I am aware, there is no significant interest in aquaculture south of the border.
Aquaculture has been thrown to the lions by the UK Government without so much as a by-your-leave. We will seek to get the best possible outcome for Scottish fishermen, despite the complete shambles of the Brexit boorach that has been perpetrated by the Conservatives.