Pushing for an immigration system which will support the fragile West Coast Fishing industry was the aim of Isles MP Angus MacNeil and his SNP colleagues when they met with Immigration Minister James Brokenshire today (Wednesday).

The group, which included MPs from Scotland and Northern Ireland, are urging the UK Government to respond to the needs of the industry and allow migrant workers into the UK to work on fishing boats where skippers are struggling to secure crews. In some cases this has led to boats being tied up for long periods of time which also affects the onshore processing sector.

Mr MacNeil said: “I am initially pleased at the consideration and the approach which the Immigration Minister, James Brokenshire, is giving this issue.

“If he unlocks this problem of boats being tied up and not earning, he will achieve something very useful.

“In the meantime we will continue dialogue with him, but I would hope by March he can find a way of helping and getting people and boats working to everyone’s benefit.”

He added: “I will be seeking the help of the fishing community in the islands to provide further information which Mr Brokenshire requested on the current specifics of our fishing community.”