NE Scotland, Orkney & Shetland

EU referendum: Fishing industry faces 'opportunities and challenges'

Budding Rose Image copyright James Duncan

The UK leaving the EU offers the Scottish fishing industry "opportunities and challenges", industry leaders have said.

The UK voted to leave the EU. The vote north of the border was to remain.

Bertie Armstrong, chief executive of the Scottish Fishermen's Federation, said government cooperation was needed.

Earlier this month, a flotilla of fishing boats sailed up the Thames to urge Parliament take back control of British waters.

The SFF's Mr Armstrong said: "The result of the referendum brings both opportunities and challenges for the fishing industry.

"The Scottish Fishermen's Federation will be doing everything in its power to ensure that the best possible deal is achieved for fishing during the exit negotiations.

"To aid this process, it is vital that we have clarity from both the UK and Scottish governments on their future intentions for fishing.

"Our national governments must work closely with the industry over the coming months and years to ensure that the right framework is put in place to deliver a prosperous future."

'Significant dangers'

Mike Park, chief executive of the Scottish White Fish Producers' Association (SWFPA), said: "European Union fisheries policy is flawed - that is why so many fishermen voted to leave.

"But we need to recognise that there are significant dangers to the industry if the UK and Scottish governments do not react to the very clear message by focusing on a new approach that recognises fishermen themselves and their communities as the key stakeholders.

"Members of the SWFPA insist that we stay on course with regard to sustainable harvesting and sensible fishing, and they are equally insistent that unworkable laws be changed."

'Revert back'

Peter Willox, a founding member of the Fishing for Leave campaign, told BBC Scotland: "It's a brand new set of challenges.

"The industry should revert back to an own-government system where the leaders at the top are accountable for decisions."

The Scottish government said before the result that EU membership was in the "best interests" of Scotland's fishing industry.

In 2014, Scotland exported £449m of fish and seafood to Europe - 68% of the total value of Scottish food exports into that market.

Worldwide, seafood exports are the second largest food and drink export behind whisky, and the industry supports thousands of jobs.

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