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28 January 2003

Fishing Redundancy Package Misses Target

“Fishing Communities in the North-East will be bitterly disappointed at Labour-Liberal plans to reduce the size of the industry dramatically” says MSP Stewart Stevenson.

Banff and Buchan MSP, Stewart Stevenson, who represents the largest white fish dependent areas of Scotland, has hit out at Government plans to reduce the fleet. Speaking today Stevenson said,

“The £50 million package announced today is neither an investment in our industry nor a lifeline for it. With the bulk going to scrap boats, owners and banks may benefit. Fishermen and onshore industries vital to our future prospects will gain little or nothing.

“After Ross Finnie signing up to the biased European deal that is causing so much anger, he now wants to cut back our future prospects. This at a time when more UK money will be sent to the EU for Spain, Portugal and Ireland to build new boats.

“It is inevitable that our licences and quota will end up in foreign hands if this madness is pursued. The sight of others harvesting our fish in years to come will be a continuing source of despair for all in the North-East.”

Turning to the SNP’s plans for the future, Stevenson commented,

“During our consultation with all sections of the fishing communities over the last few weeks, it has been clear that no-one saw further draconian cuts as a way forward.

“We demand an early return of power over our fishing grounds to the affected communities. The Regional Advisory Committees planned by Europe must become Management bodies with full powers.

“Funding for compulsory days in harbour must be found. And the European Union which has mis-managed fishing for years must provide financial support.”

Finally Stevenson looked to the political changes needed,

“The Common Fisheries policy from Europe has failed us. Now our own government rub salt in our wounds.

“We need a change of policy. And the only way to achieve that is with a change of government. An SNP government after 1st May would put fishing at the heart of its concerns.”

Stewart Stevenson
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