My initial prediction that access to Scottish fishing waters would be given as part of a Brexit deal to save greater priorities for the Tory government – Nissan’s sales in the EU, London’s Financial sector, the soft border for Ireland and whatever for Gibraltar – seemed to be contradicted, at first, in statements like:
‘Theresa May to announce UK will reclaim its waters for British fishermen’
However, my initial reaction looks more plausible after UK Environment Secretary, Michael Gove’s recent turnaround:
‘Michael Gove has reportedly told European fishermen they will still be able to catch “large amounts” in British waters after Brexit. The Environment Secretary, is said to have told fishermen during a trip to Denmark that Britain’s fish industry is too small to process all the fish itself. According to those present at a meeting with Mr Gove, he said: “Britain has no fish cutters [employed to clean, trim and bone fish] or the production facilities enough to catch all the fish in British waters.” The unexpected comment, made as the first round of withdrawal talks between Britain and EU continue, has delighted the European fishing industry but alarmed British fishermen.’
Who’d have thought we couldn’t trust the Tories’ promises or knowledge, for that matter? Remember this?
‘Michael Gove faced ridicule today after he accused the EU of ruining British fishing – and then blundered over the names of two major fishing ports. The Justice Secretary and leading Brexit campaigner declared that fishing was “very close to my heart” as he blamed the EU Common Fisheries policy for destroying the industry in the UK. Gove said that his father’s business as a fish merchant in Aberdeen had collapsed, partly because of strict catch quotas set in Brussels. But within seconds he seemed to have kippered himself after mixing up the names of two Scottish ports – referring to Peterborough and Fraserhead rather than Fraserburgh and Peterhead.’
It is probably true that Peterborough’s fish processing facility is too small. As for Gove’s heart, who thinks he has one?