The National Federation of Fishermen’s Organisations (NFFO), which represents fishermen in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland, has railed against the UK government for adopting “a policy of appeasement” towards separatist politicians in Scotland, handing over 1,500 tonnes of England’s fishing quota to the devolved administration in Edinburgh.
Scotland voted to remain in the United Kingdom in 2014, but the Scottish National Party (SNP) has retained its grip on the regional executive, albeit as a minority administration.
While nominally concerned with achieving full Scottish independence, the leadership of the SNP are staunchly in favour of the European Union (EU). Following the Brexit vote last year, SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon has been pressuring Theresa May to either keep the UK in the Single Market or find a way for Scotland to remain in it while the rest of the UK leaves.
The first demand is unlikely to be met, as staying in the Single Market would leave the leave the UK unable to limit or meaningfully vet EU migration. The latter option has been decisively rejected by Spain, as well as effectively dismissed by members of Sturgeon’s own expert panel on the EU.
Nevertheless, she has threatened to hold a second independence referendum if her demands are not met, and the NFFO believes that “English fishing interests are being systematically traded away” in order to “appease the clamour” for such a referendum.
“We have as much to fear from an aggressive Nationalist agenda in Scotland and our own supine minister [George Eustice] as we have to gain from a successful Brexit,” claimed a spokesman.
Prior to this alleged “quota grab”, the NFFO and the Scottish fishing industry were working together in order to better influence the upcoming Brexit talks.
Mike Park, Chief Executive of Scotland’s biggest fishing association, the SWFPA, told Breitbart London that “the real problem facing the UK fishing industry is the European Union’s dysfunctional Common Fisheries Policy.
“UK fishermen need to present a united front in the upcoming Brexit talks, and we can’t allow outside forces to pit us against each another.”
Studies show that EU boats are currently taking around 58% of the fish caught in UK waters. This adds up to around 650,000 tonnes of fish and shellfish, worth more than £400 million, every year.
Until recently, the SNP was opposed to the damage inflicted on the fishing industry by “the dead hand of Brussels mismanagement”.
Former UKIP leader Nigel Farage, meanwhile, continues to insist that “getting back our territorial waters” will prove to be the “acid test of Brexit”.