Local News for Tuesday 20th September 2016
“Let fishing boats go to sea” – MP
Three fishing boats are currently tied up in Barra due to lack of crew, and Western Isles MP Angus MacNeil wants to keep them at sea rather than tied up at the harbour. Mr MacNeil has called for action from the UK Government as many skippers in Scotland are facing major difficulties in finding crew. In the past they have looked outside the European Economic Area (EEA) to fill the gaps in labour, but this has been made increasingly difficult by UK visa and immigration requirements. Mr MacNeil said: “A local firm had hoped to welcome two new crew members last week but hit another stumbling block when the workers were declined entry to the UK and sent home. Many skippers along the west coast, particularly in the prawn and white fish sectors, have had to tie up boats as they cannot crew them. This has knock on effects for the local economy, especially in onshore supporting industries. A solution to this issue was identified – the reintroduction of a scheme for sourcing temporary labour from out with the EEC, as is being introduced in the Republic of Ireland. After Brexit there was a lot of talk of taking control but fishermen are finding that they have no control and this is a problem with the UK Government.” Mr MacNeil has written to Minister of State for Immigration, Robert Goodwill MP, on this matter and awaits an early response.