Scottish Conservative MEP and fisheries spokesman Ian Duncan visited Eyemouth today with local MSP and parliamentary candidate John Lamont.
The pair met with representatives of the Anglo Scottish Fishermen’s Association and local fishermen to discuss how the Scottish Conservative could further support the industry.
John Lamont, running in his third Westminster election, described how the political climate had changed in the aftermath of last year’s independence referendum.
“Obviously, people are now seeing this period as the beginning of the campaigns,” he said, “but for politicians, it can seem like the final stretch, because, don’t forget, we’ve know this was coming since 2010.
“Knocking on lots of doors everyday and meeting people, I would say that we are going to be seeing very high engagement, which is probably an aftereffect of the referendum. I don’t think that engagement will prove to be as high as in September, but it has definitely affected how likely people are to vote.”
A veteran of five years with the Scottish Fishermen’s Federation, Dr Duncan said that he had been impressed by the optimism around the harbour town on his previous visits.
“The mood is good,” he said. “People are particularly pleased about the state of the economy – or at least that is has not gotten any worse.”
He was also enthusiastic about the prospects for jobs in the port town that are not necessarily tied to fishing, noting in particular that the plans for an offshore wind farm in the North Sea, serviced from Eyemouth, could provide a massive boost.
The Neart na Gaoithe project would dovetail nicely, he said, with plans for an ‘energy union’ in the North Sea. “It would harness the potential of gas, coal and renewables as well, which would be funded through the European Union and the products of which could be shared between Britain, Denmark, Norway, and other countries.
“Those jobs would be ideal as they could be filled by people with fishing experience. “When I used to come here previously, there would be 80 boats in the dock here. Now there are only 12.
“It’s important that the town keeps going and pushing for things like that, and not let opportunities drift away.”