The Home Office is considering a pilot scheme to allow foreign fishermen to fill
crew shortages in Western Isles trawler fleet.
A number of fishing boats from the Butt to Barra have been forced to tied up or reduce
trips to sea due to the lack of suitable personnel.
Younger people in the islands are no longer attracted to the work and the local fishing
industry has been forced to seek skilled crews from abroad.
The issue is common across Scotland with many skippers looking outside the European
Economic Area (EEA) - particularly the Philippines and Ghana to fill the gaps in
Isles MP, Angus Brendan MacNeil, said “hundreds of thousands of pounds” have been
lost to the fishing industry on the west coast of Scotland because of the lack of
He and a group of MPs met discussed the issue with Immigration Minister Brandon Lewis.
Angus MacNeil said Mr Lewis “said that he would look into the possibility of running
a pilot scheme - whereby seasonal workers coming from non-EEA countries could work
for nine months to help the fishing industry on the West Coast of Scotland.”
Brandon Lewis was “very open and had a fresh and honest eye to the possibilities
of what could happen” and pledged t given an update in January.
Angus MacNeil said: “I am very pleased with the way Brandon Lewis MP has engaged
with MPs from Scotland and Northern Ireland on this issue.
“It is something I have been fighting for on behalf of the west coast fishing industry
for six years.”
Home Office considers foreign fishermen pilot scheme to fill crew shortages