Four SNP MPs in the West Coast of Scotland are to write to the Immigration Minister James Brokenshire, requesting a meeting to raise the needs of the fishing industry on the West Coast, to enable migrant seafarers to come and work on fishing boats in the area.
The four MPs, Angus MacNeil, Brendan O’Hara, Ian Blackford and Dr Paul Monaghan have all recently been lobbied by fishing interests within their constituencies.
Commenting Western Isles MP, Angus MacNeil said:
“I know of fishing boats on the West Coast that are tied up due to lack of crew, the upshot is an effect on jobs ashore in the processing sector. We need the UK government to be responsive to our needs and allow migrant workers to come from the Philippines and elsewhere to help our fishing sector and of course earn a decent wage for themselves.”
Argyll & Bute SNP MP, Brendan O’Hara added:
“The UK government has to recognise that a one-size-fits-all policy isn’t appropriate and the specific needs of the West Coast fishing industry are not being best served by the current immigration legislation. Our boats need migrant seafarers and the government should act to help this vital West Coast industry.”
Ross, Skye and Lochaber SNP MP, Ian Blackford said:
“We cannot continue with a policy that is damaging the economy. Mallaig in particular is a hub of West Coast fishing activity and I want to see that supported and not damaged by actions at Westminster where visas for migrant workers are controlled.”
Caithness, Southerland and Easter Ross SNP MP, Dr. Paul Monaghan said:
“Like my colleagues I share concerns that we have in the fishing industry. They are the same the length of the West Coast and the issues are different to the East Coast because of the effect of the islands and the 12-mile limit in our fishery. I hope the UK government will see sense. This is the democratic voice of the West Coast and we are representing the needs of boats at sea and especially jobs for locals on land.”