Alistair Carmichael warns fishing industry are ‘fighting own government for survival’

Alistair Carmichael has warned the fishing industry has been forced to “fight” its own government for surival.

Alistair Carmichael criticised the impact of Boris Johnson's Brexit deal
Alistair Carmichael criticised the impact of Boris Johnson's Brexit deal

Leading a debate on post-Brexit fisheries, the Liberal Democrat MP claimed there were still a range of concerns despite the promises of a “sea of opportunity” after leaving the Bloc

The Orkney and Shetland MP criticised new trade barriers, lack of access to workers, safety problems with non-local boats and a general lack of support for the industry.

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He said: “When the holding of today’s debate was first announced I put out a call for evidence to hear the views of people in the industry and its associated sectors.

"I was astonished at the volume and content of what I received. The e-mails came in from all around the coast. From catchers, processors, engineers, traders – all with the same message.

“The deal struck by the Prime Minister on Christmas Eve is not what they were promised and six months in to its first year it is causing massive problems.”

Mr Carmichael told MPs one 19-year-old fisherman from Shetland had claimed he was struggling to survive.

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He said:“Why is the fishing industry having to fight their own government for survival?

"Why do their advisory boards have no qualified fishermen or ex-fishermen or fish processors advising them?

"Why are they allowing uncontrolled fishing by foreign vessels in our waters?”

The Lib Dem MP also revealed the Secretary of State had not met with him to discuss the issues in the past six months.He added: “In coastal and island communities around the country the anger and frustration felt by fishermen is almost palpable. They feel let down and used and they want answers.

“In January I asked the Secretary of State if he would meet with me and industry representatives to discuss the problems facing the industry. He ignored the request then and since so I make it again today.

"Will the minister sit down with members and industry representatives? If not then I fear that the anger and frustration that is in the industry is only going to grow.”

The minister declined to accept the invitation.

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