Tuesday 11 June 2019

Rockall fishing wars, you ain't seen nothing yet

Given the renewed interest in Irish fishing boats around the Rockall box, I’ve dug out a Daily Record piece I wrote last year, predicting the stramash after being alerted to what was going on. Reprinted below. 

Irish boats have been in and around Rockall for years in waters claimed by the UK. But last season they started, in the words of a Scottish fishing source, “taking the proverbial” in the sure knowledge that no UK Minister wanted to see an Irish skipper in the dock of a Scottish court over a territorial dispute while Brexit negotiations were at a delicate stage.

This year the talking is over, and Scottish Ministers can no longer ignore the complaints of the Scottish fishing fleet or the evidence of the electronic trackers that show exactly where the boats are. They’re warning they will dispatch a fishery cruiser. The Irish government’s apparent bafflement is puzzling, everyone knew what was going on, but during Brexit talks everyone chose to ignore it. 

Daily Record 07/09/18

SCALLOP wars? You ain’t seen nothing yet.

Tempting as it is to see the fishing clashes in the English Channel as Brexit without nets, the incident only shows how complicated negotiating a shared resource like fish is.

UK boats have ancient rights to fish the French coast, just as French boats came to UK waters long before a Common Fisheries Policy.

For years, it was generally accepted that small British boats could enter the “closed” French waters for a limited number of “days at sea”.

There was no agreement this year, although that has been sorted now after flares and dangerous clashes at sea.

What tipped the French is that the small boats from Newlyn and the West Country have been joined of late by trawlers from Scotland.

One of the vessels attacked in the Channel was the 95ft Honeybourne III, registered in Peterhead but apparently belonging to a Canadian-owned company. So, nothing as simple as a Scottish boat, and a signal, if one were needed, that our post-Brexit fishing policies should start afresh with an emphasis on boats fishing areas assigned to their home ports.

Expect more of these disputes post-Brexit.

I’m told Irish trawlers are “pulling the proverbial” in the Rockall box conservation area on the edge of Britain’s Atlantic territorial waters.

During delicate Brexit negotiations, which government would risk having an Irish trawler hauled through a British court over fishing infringements? 

When I looked yesterday, the marine traffic map showed the Honeybourne III was still there, off the coast of Le Touquet. The live mapping service said: “Status: engaged in fishing.”

Its business is scallop dredging, scraping the ocean floor for shellfish, which has been described as akin to cutting down orchards to pick apples. But that’s another debate for post-Brexit Britain.

 I NEARLY fell off my scooter when a Mercedes with the numberplate Y19 YES drove past me outside Westminster this week.

Nationalist friends will take it as a sign from on high - well, the DVLA - that next year is the destined one for an independence majority.

Then an SNP MP told me no, it was probably just Alex Salmond on the way to record his Russia Today programme.

Am fear-tàilisg an dràthair nan stòcainnean

Coltach ri mòran eile a tha a’ fuireach faisg air Tràigh Ùige, bidh mo charaid a’ cur an taigh aige mach air mall do luchd-turais fhad ’s a tha e thall thairis.

Mar sin bha e anns an Spàinn nuair a bhuail an naidheachd e mar bhrag tàirneanaich.

Is e sin gu bheil teaghlach ann an Dùn Èideann a’ reic fear-tàilisg Ùig a “lorg” iad anns an dachaigh aca.

Anns a’ mhionaid, bha fios aige gur e sin am dearbh phìos a bh’ aige fhèin ann an dràthair nan stòcainnean.

Ach a rèir nam pàipearan-naidheachd, tha am pìos seo – aona phìos - a’ dol air a’ mhargaidh airson còrr is millean not.

Abair staing. 

Gus am faigh e dhachaigh, chan urrainn dha a bhith cinnteach.

Ach tha e an ìre mhath cinnteach gur ann à Dùn Èideann a bha an teaghlach a ghabh an taigh airson ceala-deug.

Daoine às a’ bhaile mhòr a’ gabhail brath.

Ach chan urrainn dha a bheul fhosgladh.

’S ann an uairsin a thòisich na ceistean a thaobh ciamar a bha am fear-tàilisg aigesan sa chiad dol a-mach?

Chan eil aige ach an aon fhurtachd.

Cha toir e fada an t-airgead a dhèanamh a-rithist tron diabhal Air BnB sin.