Blackford slams Brexit fisheries deal as ‘enormous con job’

The SNP's Westminster leader Ian Blackford has slammed the Brexit fisheries deal as an "enormous con job" with key fishing stocks reportedly at risk.

Fishermen's leaders have previously accused Prime Minister Boris Johnson of betraying the industry in the compromise struck with Brussels over future fishing rights in UK waters.

And on Tuesday analysis from the Scottish Government suggested key fishing stocks landed by the Scottish fleet are set to fall as a result of the deal.

Decreases in the maximum percentage of total EU and UK quota available to the UK have been estimated for haddock and cod in waters such as the North Sea.

30 PHOTOS
Pictures of the week: December 27 - January 2
See Gallery
Pictures of the week: December 27 - January 2
A paraglider flying over Mam Tor, a 517m hill near Castleton in Derbyshire. (Photo by Danny Lawson/PA Images via Getty Images)
PLUMPTON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 03: A general view as runners clear a fence during The Sky Sports Racing Virgin 535 Handicap Chase at Plumpton Racecourse on January 03, 2021 in Plumpton, England. Due to the Coronavirus pandemic, owners along with the paying public will not be allowed to attend the meeting. (Photo by Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images)
Fireworks and drones illuminate the night sky over the The O2 in London as they form a light display as London's normal New Year's Eve fireworks display was cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic. (Photo by Victoria Jones/PA Images via Getty Images)
Shipping containers on board a cargo ship in the port of Southampton, as the UK leaves the single market and customs union and the Brexit transition period comes to an end. (Photo by Steve Parsons/PA Images via Getty Images)
A walker photographs the snow and frost in Marchwood near Southampton. (Photo by Steve Parsons/PA Images via Getty Images)
The December full moon sets behind the Penshaw Monument, near Sunderland. Elsewhere in the UK, the Met Office issued fresh warnings for snow for Wednesday, with the potential to cause rail and road closures, power cuts, and injuries.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson gives a thumbs up gesture after signing the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement at 10 Downing Street, Westminster.
A woman wearing a face mask walks past the Stay Alert Save Lives Rainbow Sign in Soho. As daily Covid19 infection rate hits record high in London, the government is pinning its hopes on the Oxford/AstraZeneca jab. (Photo by Pietro Recchia / SOPA Images/Sipa USA)
A full moon passes by the Shard skyscraper in London on Thursday Dec. 31, 2020. (AP Photo/Tony Hicks)
Liverpool's goalkeeper Alisson, center, makes a save from Newcastle's Ciaran Clark during the English Premier League soccer match between Newcastle United and Liverpool at St James' Park stadium in Newcastle, England, Wednesday, Dec. 30, 2020. (Stu Forster/ Pool via AP)
Fencing around the Winston Churchill statue in Parliament Square, London, ahead of New Year's Eve celebrations. People are being urged to stay home on New Year's Eve to prevent the "dire" situation in hospitals from getting worse. (Photo by Dominic Lipinski/PA Images via Getty Images)
Work continues to finish the Sevington Inland Border Facility in Ashford, Kent, before the Brexit transition period concludes at 11pm GMT, ushering in a new era in the UK's relationship with the European Union.
A pro EU protestor stands in parliament square in front of Parliament during the debate in the House of Commons on the EU (Future Relationship) Bill in London, Wednesday, Dec. 30, 2020.The European Union's top officials have formally signed the post-Brexit trade deal with the United Kingdom, as lawmakers in London get set to vote on the agreement. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)
A mural of Joy Division's Ian Curtis watches over the Northern Quarter in Manchester city centre, as snow hits the UK. Tuesday 29th December 2020. (Photo by Pat Scaasi/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
COLCHESTER, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 29: Cardboard cut outs of fans in the stands before the Sky Bet League Two match between Colchester United and Cheltenham Town at JobServe Community Stadium on December 29, 2020 in Colchester, England. (Photo by Jacques Feeney/Getty Images)
A COVID-19 testing centre continues to operate in Ancoats, Manchester city centre, as snow hits the UK. Tuesday 29th December 2020. (Photo by Pat Scaasi/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
Leicester, Leicestershire, UK 29th Dec 2020. Uk Weather. Snow. Fun in the snow as Bradgate Park in Leicestershire is covered in a blanket of snow. Alex Hannam/Alamy Live News
Ambulances queued outside the Royal London Hospital, in London. (Photo by Yui Mok/PA Images via Getty Images)
Lizzy and daughter Connie, 6, are chased down a snow covered hill by their golden retriever Pippa in a park in Newcastle-under-Lyme, England, Monday, Dec. 28, 2020. In the aftermath of Storm Bella swathes of the UK are braced for a cold snap, with snow and ice warnings in force across the country. (Joe Giddens/PA via AP)
An aerial view of snow covered houses in the village of Oulton in Staffordshire, England, Monday, Dec. 28, 2020. In the aftermath of Storm Bella swathes of the UK are braced for a cold snap, with snow and ice warnings in force across the country. (Tom Leese/PA via AP)
Foggy weather on Hampstead Heath in north London. Picture date: Monday December 28, 2020. Photo credit should read: Matt Crossick/Empics
A couple walks past Christmas decorations at the Ritz London. Under tier four restrictions, pubs and restaurants will close, as well as �non-essential� retail. (Photo by Pietro Recchia / SOPA Images/Sipa USA)
A man holds illuminated balloons, standing in front of the London Eye tourist sightseeing wheel in London, Monday Dec. 28, 2020. Millions more people moved to harsher coronavirus restrictions as the new tier changes came into force over much of England. (Victoria Jones/PA via AP)
Foggy weather on Hampstead Heath in north London. Picture date: Monday December 28, 2020. Photo credit should read: Matt Crossick/Empics
A woman wearing a face mask walks on the street on a foggy morning, as many parts of the UK are now in Tier 4 COVID-19 restrictions. The UK has recorded its highest daily rise in coronavirus cases since the pandemic began with 41,385 positive tests. Prime Minister Boris Johnson hasn't ruled out a national lockdown in the New Year. (Photo by Dinendra Haria / SOPA Images/Sipa USA)
Lorries queue at the Port of Dover following the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Dover, Britain, December 27, 2020. REUTERS/Peter Cziborra TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Gabriel Clemens during his match against Peter Wright during day ten of the William Hill World Darts Championship at Alexandra Palace, London. (Photo by John Walton/PA Images via Getty Images)
Hikers in snow on Bleaklow Moor in the Peak district of Derbyshire, after days of wet and wintry weather across the Christmas break, with a cold snap and icy conditions still to come.
Anthony Gleave and his son Arthur, 3, canoe along the flooded A1101 in Welney, Norfolk, England, Sunday, Dec. 27, 2020. Hurricane-force winds reaching up to 106 miles per hour (170 kph) and rainstorms battered parts of Britain, disrupting train services and stranding drivers in floodwaters. The Isle of Wight saw Storm Bella’s strongest winds at 106mph, while parts of the south coast of England and north Wales also saw gusts of around 80mph (129 kph). (Joe Giddens/PA via AP)
A homeless man wears a santa hat as he sits on Oxford Street in London, Saturday, Dec. 26, 2020. London is currently in Tier 4 with all non essential retail closed and people have been asked to stay at home, on what is usually one of the busiest retail days of the year with the traditional Boxing Day sales in shops. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)
HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

Speaking to the BBC's Good Morning Scotland programme on Wednesday, Mr Blackford said: "We've been told by the Tories over the course of the last four and a half years a lot of this was to do with fishing, it was about taking back control of the sea of opportunity, as they called it.

"We now know that nothing could be further from the truth – we know from the analysis that's been done on the deal that in the key fishing stocks of cod and Haddock for example we'll either be catching less fish or no more fish.

"This has been an enormous con job and you are really left asking the question – what is this about if the benefits that were supposed to be accrued to us are not going to take place?

"The fact is that the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) at the moment is a better deal than what we're going to get with this, but the failure of the UK Government has been to prioritize fishing over a long number of decades.

"Certainly an independent Scotland in the EU would make sure that we were working with other coastal nations to give us the opportunity that we need to be to grow our fishing communities, to make sure that we have a sustainable future for that industry."

The UK Government's Scottish Secretary Alister Jack also appeared on the programme and highlighted that not all white fish figures will fall.

The Scottish Government's analysis supported this, suggesting increases for West of Scotland haddock, saithe and whiting among other fish.

Mr Jack said: "Cod is going down but actually finally cod has lost its Marine Stewardship Council accreditation last year and the numbers are of concern.

"Herring numbers go up 10% and there's give and take there, but the broad picture is that over the next five years our quota will increase by 25% and we start from a baseline of just over 50%, remember.

"We will also see next year alone an increase of 15% so this is a very good deal... It takes us, as I see it, five and a half years to total freedom in our negotiations – actually the agreement provides for quota transfers between the UK and the EU as part of the annual negotiations from year one.

"This is a deal that does well for the whole industry – we can't just be all about the deep sea fishermen, it has to be the coastal fishermen, it has to be the shellfish producers, it has to take into account aquaculture.

"Also the processors and the merchants now have a deal that's tariff-free and quota-free into the EU, so this industry as a whole benefits, it's not just all at the expense of one sector of the industry."

Read Full Story Click here to comment

FROM OUR PARTNERS