Prime Minister David Cameron went to sea on board the Shetland fishing boat Radiant Star today – and came ashore in no doubt about the need to tackle the European Commission over the discards ban.
On a short trip south from Lerwick and back, representatives of the industry in the islands took the opportunity to highlight the lack of progress in finding a way to introduce the landings obligation without jeopardizing the future of the local fleet.
“We were very clear that the means must be found to overcome this blockage, which stands in the way of a very bright future for the industry here,” said Shetland Fishermen’s Association executive officer Simon Collins.
“The Prime Minister gets it. He clearly understands the limitations of top-heavy management from Brussels, with remote bureaucrats and MEPs trying to stuff unworkable regulations down our throats. We emphasised that there is nothing wrong with taking a second look at rules that don’t do the job they’re supposed to do.”
Mr Collins added: “We were also able to point to the dramatic recoveries in the key fish stocks around Shetland and demonstrate just how much of the UK’s fish are caught in our waters.”
As well as Mr Collins, Mr Cameron was accompanied by skipper Victor Laurenson, chairman of the Shetland Fish Producers’ Organisation; Leslie Tait, chairman of the SFA; David Hutchison, chairman of the SFA’s pelagic committee; and Richie Simpson, chief executive of LHD.