31 October 2002

Stevenson Calls For Finnie To Build Alliance To Save Fishing Industry

During the SNP’s fisheries debate in parliament today Banff & Buchan MSP Stewart Stevenson called on Fisheries Minister Ross Finnie to spend more time in Europe meeting and canvassing Ministers and officials from other Governments to build an alliance for Scottish white fisheries.

Speaking after the debate, Mr Stevenson said:

“It is no use Ministers simply turning up at meetings to press an argument when it is well-established that the real decisions in Europe are made well in advance by the informal contacts which I am asking the Minister to promote.

“I believe the Minister heard and understood my call and I insist that he should not be deflected from this by any concerns that officials in Scotland or in London might have about his taking control of this fight for vital Scottish interests.”

Continuing, Mr Stevenson challenged the Minister to take courage in his hands. He said during the debate:

“’Mr Finnie, you must be prepared to break the rules if not the law because the crisis in Scottish fishing is such that we can no longer stand back from the decision-making process and despite what his discomfort may be elsewhere, Scottish Ministers must become directly engaged in saving this vital industry’.

“20,000 jobs are at stake and if Scotland were to lose its fishing industry then the effect on employment and our economy would be greater than any job loss in recent times.”

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