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We will have to accept non-UK boats in our waters, admits Scottish Fishing chief – Towards Indyref2…

We will have to accept non-UK boats in our waters, admits Scottish Fishing chief

Non-UK fishing vessels will continue to have access to UK waters after Brexit, the Chief Executive of the Scottish Fisherman’s Federation has admitted.

Bertie Armstrong also conceded that, whilst he remained opposed to the status-quo, exactly the same access that non-UK fishermen currently enjoy, may still be in place after EU trade negotiations conclude.

Speaking on Good Morning Scotland, Bertie Armstrong said: “We’re going to have to accept non EU boats in our waters, that was the position we were always in.”


The comments appear at odds with reports yesterday which claimed EU calls for access to UK waters had been ‘slammed’ by the Scottish Fishing Chief.

Armstrong was quoted in a BBC article saying: “No coastal state currently offers the EU guarantees of access to its waters and natural resources, and neither should we.”

There appeared further confusion as to the stance of the Scottish Fisherman’s Federation with respect to their expectations on post Brexit agreements following negotiations with the EU.  Mr Armstrong appeared to concede that having control over our own waters may not in fact result in any guaranteed changes to current access arrangements.

Asked what his ‘line in the sand’ was in terms of any post-Brexit deal, the Scottish Fisherman’s Chief replied: “The line in the sand is taking control, being in charge. The rest is up to negotiation.”

Challenged that this could mean the same access for EU fishermen in terms of numbers as currently exists, Mr Armstrong answered: “That’s exactly right”.


The Scottish Fishing Chief went on to insist that movement on access would begin at some point in the future.  He added: “The really important part is being in control and starting a movement towards a more normalised situation.”

Prime Minister Theresa May has already said that “reciprocal access” would be discussed during Brexit negotiations.  However despite fishing being an important sector in Scotland, it makes up less than 1% of UK GDP.  There are fears that it will not be a top priority for UK government negotiators and may well be seen as a bargaining chip.

Fears that Scotland’s fishing sector could once again be used as a bargaining chip by a Westminster government were raised last year after Theresa May refused to rule it out in her Lancaster House Speech.

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25 thoughts on “We will have to accept non-UK boats in our waters, admits Scottish Fishing chief

  1. Jockanese Wind Talker

    Like Scotlands farmers our fishermen will be sold out by Westminster.

    They voted Tory and for Brexit to “take back control” but have only managed to be ‘taken for a ride’ again.

    Fishing was sold out going into the EU and will be sold out as we leave (The Westminster Establishment comes first and that means Financial Passporting trumps fish).

    Scottish Farmers CAP payments given by Westminster at a LOWER rate than EU calculated and gave to Westminster to distribute.

    And yet they vote for their ‘precious Union’

    They reap what they sowed.

    Independence is the ONLY way the Scottish Fishing (and farming) sectors can truly TAKE BACK CONTROL.

    But not from Brussels but from London.

    1. AngusSkye

      You are so right. This was obvious long before the Brexit vote. Fishing and Agriculture are small beer to the UK and only an idiot couldn’t have seen this coming.

      If an independent Scotland is to join the EU, Fishing and Agriculture will be on the negotiations agenda. However, as they are of more importance to Scotland than the rest of the UK, Scotland will negotiate a far better deal than the UK – Scotland cares, the UK doesn’t.

  2. Bibbit

    Bertie Armstrong flip flops more than a landed fish on a heaving deck. He rails against Scotland becoming independent. As a loyal Ulsterman, that’s hardly a surprise.

    However, this meek acceptance of being out of the hated Common Fisheries Policy in name only is bizarre & inexplicable.

    Armstrong seems more interested in protecting UK Tories, than UK fisheries.

    It was a common ploy by MI6 in N Ireland during the troubles to infiltrate key security areas. MI6 looks on Scottish Independence as a threat to the existence of the British state.

    MI6 planted useful idiots in N Ireland for decades. It would be naive not to assume they had such plants in the higher echelons of the SNP.

    Fisheries is also such a potential flash point in Scots politics, that given the current political crisis, the deep Brit State will have its fingers in many Scottish pies, especially fish pies.


    1. Alasdair Macdonald


      I think you might be close to the mark with regard to Mr Armstrong’s Northern Irish, Unionist views influencing his attitude towards the UK Government’s powers over fishing.

      When territorial waters are taken into account 51% of UK territory is Scottish territory, so, the greatest part, by some way, of the UK fishery is the Scottish fishery and responsibility for that, legally, lies with Holyrood.

      So, Mr Armstrong i, with his organisation, complicit in the ‘power grab’ which the Scottish Government is seeking to halt.

      In a recent article for the BBC website, Sarah Smith writes about the ‘UK fishing industry’, with no mention of the authority of the Scottish Parliament. Indeed, there is no mention of Scotland other than by inference, by mentioning, Peterhead. She is tacitly implying that it is all one nation and emphasising the recently constructed concept of a UK internal market.

      1. Jockanese Wind Talker


        The Scottish Fishermen’s Federation (SFF) was formed in 1973 to preserve and promote the collective interests of Scotland’s fishermen’s associations.

        Norn Irns Bertie Armstrong is its head and not a member of the SNP.

        Fergus Ewing MSP is the Scottish Government’s Cabinet Secretary for the Rural Economy and Connectivity. His brief includes Fisheries

          1. Derick fae Yell

            Bertie’s final posting before official retirement from the British military was Faslane. Make of that what you will

    2. Jason Smoothpiece

      Bibbit, they know who you are.

      Anyway I dont believe MI6 are involved in this in any way.

      Its actually MI5.

  3. Big Jock

    The fishermen who are all working class lads and lasses believed an upper class English Tory would protect them. At the same time they rejected the Scottish government all for fleg. The farmers who get their subsidies from the EU to keep them in the black, believed that the English Tories would continue to pay their subsidies when they leave the EU.

    If brains were a disease these people would be the healthiest specimens on the planet. There is no money in the UK it’s all debt upon debt . To service the debt the government will cut everything. They will not even consider giving subsidies to bankrupt farmers. I hope they realise that they voted to end their own livelihoods. The fishermen should also vent their anger at their so called leaders who lied to them. There is no nirvana outside the EU. Their dream is sinking faster than their empty nets.

    Taking back control means handing power to WM not to the people.

  4. stewartb

    “Challenged that this could mean the same access for EU fishermen in terms of numbers as currently exists, Mr Armstrong answered: ‘That’s exactly right’.”

    Having followed the public statements of Mr Armstrong on the issue of post-Brexit access to UK waters – demanding full control at the point of Brexit prior to beginning any downstream negotiation on access by EU fleets – the above admission should blow his credibility ‘out of the water’.

    In his evidence to a HoC Select Committee in 2017 (see http://data.parliament.uk/writtenevidence/committeeevidence.svc/evidencedocument/exiting-the-european-union-committee/the-uks-negotiating-objectives-for-its-withdrawal-from-the-eu/oral/44763.html ) Armstrong states:

    “.. the present situation of common access is a complete distortion, absolutely unacceptable.”

    Sounds as if he may be realising his members might have to lump it! Any sacrifice for this ‘precious union’!

    1. Lorna Campbell

      Bertie Armstrong, himself a Tory, went south before the GE. He then returned to promote voting Tory among the fishing communities (because he had a deal with Westminster?). The fishing communities duly did so and elected Tories in place of some of the SNP’s big hitters, who fell. If the fishermen had a modicum of sense, they’d give him the order of the boot. He sold them out long ago.

  5. Clydebuilt

    Just how many of the fishermen realise what’s going on.
    They were sold down the river (North Sea) by Ted Heath so why did they fall for it again.
    Scotland has to hope our Fishermen start to understand their situation, what drives Armstrong.

    They eat a lot of fish, they can’t be this daft, there’s hope yet!

    1. gregor

      Unionsts have hacked fishermen’s radio communication system (snigger) while they are out at sea trying to make a living?

  6. Big Jock

    I have to say it takes incredible naivity to think that London running your waters is going to be better than EU access rights. London is the common enemy of everyone in Scotland. They have bled Scotland dry and lied and abused our people.

    I honestly can’t get the stupidity of thinking Edinburgh isn’t fit to run Scotland but London is. Are these people self harmers. Well they have just proven they are just that.

  7. Robert Graham

    glad to see Bertie has cleared that up , or has it caused more confusion ,

    Confused of morning side .

  8. grizebard

    Bertie Armstrong is a BritNat puppet without a shred of integrity or credibility. He dangled the seductive prospect of an exclusionist fishing free-for-all with Brexit – just another of those “big bus”-style lies – and a bunch of wishful-thinkers fell for it then voted for Tory nobodies at the following UKGE.

    He may present himself as a representative of Scottish fishermen, but he is in truth just a front for the UK state.

    Well, after this latest row-back of his, no-one in Scotland with even two neurons to rub together could possibly believe this duplicitous Northern Ireland chancer for a millisecond longer.

    (Not least any of his anti-EU fairytales, or anyone else’s either for that matter.)

  9. Sam

    When a group are doing something that is against their interests they are blind to the consequences. One thing that blinds people in this way is sectarianism. There was an article in Wings Over Scotland where a skipper who was photographed with Ruth Davidson made vile tweets against Nicola Sturgeon.
    Does Donald Findlay go round the pubs in Peterhead.

  10. Cubby

    Sectarianism the Orange Order the Masons – like a nasty virus that just won’t go away.
    Clearly a lot of Scottish fisherman have been infected by this virus brought over from N. Ireland by Armstrong.

  11. Lochside

    Bertie Armstrong is not only a Northern Irish ‘No Surrender’ proddy ex Brit seviceman, but also was Harbour Master at Faslane for three years. He also has Nato experience. He is not a business leader..he is a political plant put there in the Fisherman’s association to stymie Scottish self rule at all costs.

    Many fisher folk and rich farmers voted tory, but don’t underestimate the impact of Colonel Gadafty’s ‘No Surrender to Ref2’ election on the settler vote in the N.E
    The majority have good jobs and pensions and are just as stupidly colonial minded as Bertie Bastard is towards the Indigenous ‘jocks’.

    The incoming RUK votes will sink us at the next Indy unless we can move the uninvolved and remaining slab doubters into voting.

    1. m biyd

      Too late I fear. In the rural perthshire village I live in any house that has came on the market in the last 5 years has been bought by rUK voters. This includes affordable former council houses and the majority of incomers are pensioners. The local hotel is half empty and the Primary school is closing. I was confronted with a posse of them when I put up the SNP signs in my front garden. Meanwhile, the national census shows each count Scotland is less Scottish and more English. I don’t know if it’s a deliberate policy to foist a settler population on us but we know the trouble this causes… Algeria, N Ireland, Palestine, etc.

      1. Clydebuilt

        M Biyd

        Often BBC 1 Scotland has a different programme on to the rest of network. If you’ve got Sky check it out.
        There’s a load of BBC programmes (some ch4 ) made for RUK viewers promoting Scotland in all its glory. Always sunny days when filming. . . Apart from ch4’s model train across the Great Glenn, had to be done to a timetable.
        Radio 2 Ken Bruce, Scotland over represented on pop Master quiz. Steve Wright, reads out texts from folk travelling in uk. . . Loads of them travelling to and from Scotland. Sunday morning BBC2, pop quiz, English woman married to a Scot lives in Edinburgh, family successfull,
        great life.
        There’s a powerful campaign to entice RUKers up here.

    2. Clydebuilt

      Agree with last comment. See below

      Tories are pushing Scot Gov into holding Indy Ref2 before the full disaster of Brexit has happened and obvious to all. IMHO going too early before Brexit has influenced vote is a mistake.

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