Fishing folly

I HAVE no axe to grind in the independence debate, but the sheer stupidity of Alex Salmond’s threat to exclude non-Scottish fishing vessels from Scottish fishing waters and also to obstruct access to Norwegian waters as weapons in his independence negotiations sets alarm bells ringing (your report, 13 May). Fishing is an industry Mr Salmond is supposed to know something about, having represented Banff and Buchan for many years. Yet the Scottish Fishermen’s Federation has had to point out that what he is threatening is illegal as well as deeply counter-productive.

In 2012, there were £22 million worth of landings by Scottish fishing vessels into ports in the rest of the UK. The east coast prawn fishery was saved by fishing for stocks off the north-east of England. Forty per cent of the “Scottish” scallop catch comes from the south-west of England. Scottish vessels fish for blue whiting in Irish waters and cod in Norwegian waters. I could go on.

The idea, promoted in Mr Salmond’s Bruges speech, that we should put all at this at risk, at least for the duration of negotiations over independence, displays breathtaking disregard for the interests of the Scottish fishing industry. If Mr Salmond’s counter-productive bluster is replicated in other sectors of our economy, then heaven help Scotland in the event of him succeeding in gaining independence.

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Andrew Mackintosh

Balmoral Terrace