The dominant issue for the Scottish fishing industry remains Brexit, with the UK and the EU having set out their objectives for this year’s trade talks, says the Scottish Fishermen’s Federation, who are sponsoring Scottish Skipper Expo 2020.
The UK has stated that it will become a coastal state with sovereign control of its waters and that there will be no link between access and trade. The EU has insisted that the status quo must prevail, with its vessels given continued access to UK waters in return for the right to sell seafood into EU markets.
The SFF has consistently argued for coastal state status, with access negotiated on an annual basis, and will continue to press the UK Government to deliver the ‘Sea of Opportunity’ as the talks, which are likely to be protracted, continue.
As ever, the SFF hopes that Brexit will not obscure the excellent work done by the SFF across safety and training, science, renewables and fish farms.
Chief executive, Elspeth Macdonald, and policy officers in each of these areas will be on the SFF stand at the Scottish Skipper Expo in May to feature some of the activities they have been involved in as representatives of the sector. They will be available to explain and answer any questions on the work that they have been doing.
This year the SFF stand will feature a new Environmental Policy statement and focus on co-existence at sea and protection of the fishing grounds, showing what the Federation has concentrated on to ensure an active defence for a fair allocation of the sea space in situations of increased pressure from offshore renewables, Marine Protected Areas and priority marine features, and political pressures around exclusion areas.
With safety the industry’s number one priority, the SFF will also be reflecting on life under the new legal requirements of ILO 188 (the Work in Fishing Convention) during vessel inspections in 2019. The new requirements represent the biggest changes to fishing health and safety legislation for 30 years.
Many fishermen are still getting to grips with the new requirements, and all are welcome to seek advice and assistance on all things related to safety and training by visiting the SFF stand.
Scottish Skipper Expo will also provide an opportunity to explore the activities of the SFF’s Subsidiary company SFF Services Ltd and its new entity Marine Environmental Solutions (MES), allowing visitors to get in touch with the commercial side of the Federation.