Na h-Eileanan an Iar SNP MP Angus B MacNeil has called on the UK Government to ensure that key funding remains available to fishermen to improve safety at sea after Brexit.

Currently grants of up to 80 per cent are available for fishermen from the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF) to finance personal protection equipment which includes work clothing as well as Personal Flotation Devices (PFDs) and Personal Locator Beacons (PLBs). The Fund also supports modifications to vessels to reduce the risks of going overboard, such as adding safety rails and non-slip decking.

Mr MacNeil has written to Michael Gove, Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs to seek clarification on how funding for safety measures will be accessed by fishermen after the UK leaves the European Union.

He said: “Safety at sea should be a priority and I have written to the Secretary of State to seek clarification on the UK Government’s plans to ensure that fishermen are supported in making modifications to vessels and in purchasing PFDs and PLBs.

“The recent Notice from the MCA has made additional legal requirements on fishermen to wear PFDs at sea in an effort to save lives and the long term plan needs to be to prevent fishermen going overboard in the first place by improving safety features on fishing boats. This funding is crucial for the safety of the Scottish fleet and I hope the UK Government has made provision for this to continue.”