MP presses case for island fishing boats

Western Isles MP Angus MacNeil. Pic by Anthony Upton
Western Isles MP Angus MacNeil. Pic by Anthony Upton

Western Isles MP Angus MacNeil says the UK Immigration Minister must ‘Take Control’ on a commitment he made to look at re-introducing a scheme to address the crew shortage crisis facing the West Coast fishing industry.

With several fishing boats tied up across Na h-Eileanan an Iar due to a lack of crew, Mr MacNeil has been pressing the UK Government and the Minister Robert Goodwill MP to consider re-introducing a scheme to allow non-European Economic Area workers into the country to assist skippers to keep vessels at sea.

This worked well in the past and during a meeting with Mr MacNeil and fishing representatives in December last year, Mr Goodwill said he would look at the detail of the previous scheme.

Mr MacNeil has now written to Mr Goodwill to seek an update on this work.

He said: “We are now in mid-February and the fishing industry need to know what is happening in order to plan for the months ahead. It is the UK Government who control this alone, not the EU and sadly not Scotland or else we would have no problem.”