Sunday, 23 May 2010

A Little Common Sense from the Coalition

Above is Richard Lochhead (left), Scotland's Fisheries minister. Along with Alex Salmond, Richard Lochhead has worked tirelessly for many years to ensure Scotland's fishing industry receives a fair deal in Europe.

The bulk of the UK's fishing industry is based in Scotland yet the last labour government refused to allow the Scottish government's fisheries minister to attend European Fisheries Council talks. Only a few weeks ago Richard Lochhead said he had been barred from attending an EFC meeting in Vigo, Spain. Instead, the former Labour government sent a junior minister from the House of Lords.

It would appear David Cameron has taken the issue of the UK's fisheries to heart and recognises that Richard Lochhead is the most informed and capable person to speak on behalf of the UK at the council. UK ministers have told the First Minister that they will look favourably on calls from the Scottish government to play a key role in international negotiations on fisheries in Brussels.

A long overdue decision. The damage caused to this industry over the years has been excessive and all because those who have represented the UK in the past were badly prepared and/or had little interest. I know my friends in the north east will be delighted with this decision and finally Scotland will be recognised as a major player in an industry which provides us with one of our staple foods.


Oldrightie said...

let us hope for ever more common sense.

subrosa said...

It's hope which keeps us going OR.

Clarinda said...

Most of the Scottish west coast fish and shell-fish appears to be Spain's staple 'imports' with some assistance from the French and Dutch. Our own fish-merchants for UK consumption up there seem to have closed down their home business in favour of foreign buyers demanding quality products while we stick with farmed salmon and deep fried white puddings.

Many local west-coast fishermen, with small single boats, may have difficulty in the future making a living if the Marine Park movement ban coastal fishing and we get a form of Coastal Clearances in favour of insatiable seals and the odd stray chiff-chaff.

It was terrific earlier this year wandering around the mercado San Miguel
in Madrid, sampling the rich fresh harvest of the Scottish west coast (perhaps the east coast as well) where the best of the crop ends up? Good luck Mr Lochhead - at last.

Indyanhat said...

Is it widely known in Scotland that Liebore refused to give the Scottish expert a voice in international negotiations affecting Scotland so intimately?
If it is then I fail to see why there was so much support for Liebore up there!!!

CrazyDaisy said...


Fantastic news a little too late for my family, only 1 member left fishing from a day boat! However, most welcome none the less.

My absolute disgust for what Liebore have done in and to Scotland remains.

Bonnie here, off somewhere hot for a few days!

Apogee said...

A sensible action which will be to the advantage of Scotland, the Scottish Government, and the Coalition.
Common sense at last.

subrosa said...

It's the same in northern Spain Clarinda. Gorgeous sole from here yet we can't even buy it at Arbroath where there are several fish shops.

I'm not acquaint with the west coast fishing as much as the east, but I've seen whole families go to the wall owing to EU restrictions. Communities broken too and as you'll know, now a serious drug problem mainly amongst the young.

What never ceases to amaze me, I can eat Scottish langoustine cheaper in Spain than I can on the west coast where they are caught. The Spanish must subsidise their industry.

subrosa said...

I don't know how widely know it is Indyan. Most of us who have an interest in politics know about it.

The support for labour here comes from those who would have little taste of fresh fish unless it was battered and with chips or in a BigMac roll. That's how I see it.

Plus of course public service workers who have no understanding of economics. They think if they vote for anyone else they'll lose their job. Seriously.

subrosa said...

None left on my side CD, all retired now, but if this does come about then it is good news for those left.

Somewhere hot? All you've to do is come up here but then you'd need your land legs. :)

subrosa said...

Long overdue too Apogee.

Dean MacKinnon-Thomson said...

Good, I may yet love this coalition government - though I'm still to make up my mind on it...

Dark Lochnagar said...

Rosie, I was in the fishing industry for over 20 years and my comapny, I was MD, was the first in this country, the UK, to start large exports of fresh fish to Spain. We were exporting over 120 tons per week to Madrid, Barcelona, Bilbao and Santander. So I could go on here at length about the fishing industry and Spain. Suffice to say however that most of the problems in the fishing industry in this country could have been solved by anyone who had a knowledge of the fish industry in two minutes, by changing net sizes and banning fishing for species that were spawning. Don't listen to all this shite you hear about Scottish Prawns or Langoustines as you would call them in Spain being sold cheaper than what you can get them here. Spain's import market is now very sophisticated and they are sourcing fish from literally all over the world and those 'langoustines' that you think are Scottish are more than likely to be from Chile or Peru.

subrosa said...

It's early days Dean so take your time.

subrosa said...

What a interesting career DL. I know there were plenty problems with the Spanish. Used to listen to family talking about it and the incapable representation they had at the political level.

That's possibly very true, although the Hotel Real in Santander, where we stay now and again, do get their prawns from Scotland. One night at dinner the chef produced the invoice and was very proud to show me that they came from my 'home'.

You should write a post on your experience. People would be interested to hear about the struggles of Scottish fishermen over the years.

Do you eat fish? ;)

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