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Hebrides News


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 labour.


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 crew.


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

23 November 2017

Lack of crew hits the local fleet