CONSERVATIVE MEP FOR SCOTLAND

Campaign Blog - Why have the SNP abandoned fishermen along the Clyde coast?

Jamie Greene was clear: he will champion the interest of the fishermen of the Clyde. As he said, ‘Someone has to, since it is clear that the SNP has moved on to ‘greener’ pastures.’

30.04.2016.

 

I got back from Brussels yesterday afternoon, chaired a board meeting of the English-Speaking Union last night (a worthy charity which organises public speaking and debating in schools and universities; check them out: http://www.esuscotland.org.uk) and fell asleep in front of the TV, not long after I heard Ken Livingstone explain pre-WWII history. By means slightly foggy I must have made it to bed, where I was awoken by snow and hail battering against the window. 

 

Today was a west day. As Ben Rose, my sidekick, drove me toward the rising sun, I tweeted out,

‘Ayrshire bound to campaign with @scottories @jamiegreeneUK. I hear sun is shining in west? Coz it isn't shining in the east…’

 

Within in the minute, Paul Fisher of the Ardrossan Herald had reported:

‘Afraid not, hope you've brought your brolly!’

 

How wrong he was. By the time I arrived in West Kilbride, the sun was splitting the pavement. Jamie Greene, candidate for Cunninghame North, and his team had already set up stall on Main Street and were ready for action. Jamie hails from Greenock, and spent a decade as a TV producer. I think Jamie officially qualifies for possession of a cheeky grin, which he used to good effect on the passers by.

 

Aiming to represent the Ayrshire coast, Jamie was concerned about the SNP Government’s bizarre behaviour regarding inshore fisheries. Those of you who live along the Clyde coast will no doubt have heard of the ongoing saga. The SNP launched a long consultation on the creation of Marine Protected Areas (MPA) in the area, with the aim of increasing protection and productivity from the sea. Fishermen took part in good faith, recognising the need for the right balance between fishermen, fish and the wider ecosystem. 

 

Agreement was nearly reached, fishermen having played their part, then the SNP government published its plans, and for some reason fishermen were at the bottom of the list. Areas where fishermen had fished for generations, particularly around Arran, were to be closed, with no thought to how those fishermen, or the communities which depend upon them would make a living. 

 

The Clyde Fishermen’s Association have been fighting a rear-guard action against the SNP Government and Mr Lochhead, its beleaguered Rural Affairs minister. Lochhead has already dropped the ball on farm payments and is lurching from one crisis to another. Nicola Sturgeon promised to meet with the Clyde Fishermen, and then changed her mind. Mr Lochhead managed a few minutes with them earlier in the spring. Jamie and I spent some time trying to work out why the SNP, allegedly a supporter of Scottish fishermen, have turned their back on the industry, on balanced management of the seas, and on open and fair consultation. 

 

Jamie was clear: he will champion the interest of the fishermen of the Clyde. As he said,

‘Someone has to, since it is clear that the SNP has moved on to ‘greener’ pastures.’

 

And then sun continued to shine upon West Kilbride!