18 December 2006

Stevenson Brands European Fisheries Negotiations As "No Longer Fit For Purpose"

The annual Fisheries Debate in the Scottish Parliament has taken place once again in advance of the December European fisheries meeting in Brussels. Banff & Buchan MSP Stewart Stevenson has once again called for withdrawal from the Common Fisheries Policy and for more industry input into fisheries policy making.

Speaking in the debate, Mr Stevenson said:

      “We all want a successful and sustainable industry. The Faroe Islands were mentioned in the debate. The Faroes had serious difficulties but, because they could make their decisions as quickly as they wanted to, and as close to their own fishermen as they were able to, they were able to develop, incrementally, a resolution to the difficulties they faced. That is the huge value in local control of fisheries.”

And in a swipe at the European negotionations, Mr Stevenson branded them as farcical:

      “The process by which decisions are taken in Europe is farcical in the extreme. The proposed regulation that I have in my hand is 212 pages long, describes 90 fish stocks and relates to 20 fisheries. It came out at the beginning of December and for three days in a time-boxed way political decisions have to be made on it.”

      “The process is inflexible and no longer fit for purpose.”

Speaking later on the CFP, Mr Stevenson added:

      “The underlying message is that the Common Fisheries Policy is flawed, deeply unsound, and simply cannot sustain an economically viable industry or our fishing communities.”

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