Thursday 17 July 2003

Tragedy in Shetland

The island of Whalsay boasts more millionaires per head of the population than any other place in Britain
But those heady days are about to disappear forever. Half the white fish fleet on which the island’s prosperity depends are set to be scrapped under the Scottish Executive’s latest vessel decommissioning scheme.

Shetland, and Whalsay in particular, will suffer more than any other fishing community in Scotland under the scheme, which will result in a total of 69 white fish boats being scrapped in a bid to save the North Sea’s fragile cod stocks.

Let us understand what is going on here. The decommissioning scheme is not being introduced to conserve fish stocks. It's being introduced because the British government has utterly failed to protect the property rights of our fishermen who have earned those rights by "homesteading" North Sea waters since time immemorial. Instead, it has meekly handed over those rights to the European Union. That "Union" in turn uses our money to subsidise the construction of foreign vessels that will be free to operate in traditional British waters. Shameful.