Isles MP Angus MacNeil says the UK Immigration Minister must ‘Take Control’ on a commitment he made to look at re-introducing a scheme to address the crew shortage crisis facing the West Coast fishing industry.

With several fishing boats tied up across Na h-Eileanan an Iar due to a lack of crew, Mr MacNeil has been pressing the UK Government and the Minister Robert Goodwill MP to consider re-introducing a scheme to allow non-European Economic Area workers into the country to assist skippers to keep vessels at sea.

This worked well in the past and during a meeting with Mr MacNeil and fishing representatives in December last year, Mr Goodwill said he would look at the detail of the previous scheme.

Mr MacNeil has now written to Mr Goodwill to seek an update on this work.

He said: “We are now in mid-February and the fishing industry need to know what is happening in order to plan for the months ahead. It is the UK Government who control this alone, not the EU and sadly not Scotland or else we would have no problem.  The UK Government must take control and sort out this issue fast, we have waited long enough.

“The crew shortage problem has not gone away and I am seeking an update from the Minister on progress made. He committed to looking at the detail of a scheme which was run in the past under the former Immigration Minister, Damian Green MP.

“Make no mistake, this is about Scottish jobs, the UK Government should be doing all it can to support the Scottish industry and not be preoccupied with pleasing the daily right wing London tabloid press although in fairness the Mail on Sunday does support fishermen with this predicament.”