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29 March 2007

Stevenson Meets with Scottish Fishermen's Federation

PRAWN QUOTA DEBACLE ILLUSTRATES CASE FOR SCOTTISH CONTROL OF FISHERIES

Banff & Buchan MSP Stewart Stevenson has met with the Scottish Fishermen's Federation Chief Executive Dr Bertie Armstrong to discuss the industry's wishes for parties standing in the coming election.

Of immediate concern was the apparent breakdown of the concordat which should govern relationships between DEFRA in London and SEERAD in Edinburgh. The SFF had not been consulted before the transfer of prawn fishing rights, developed by the Scottish fleet, to Germany, a country with no previous commercial prawn fishery.

Commenting on this, Mr Stevenson said:

"This is a perfect illustration of the failings of both the EU's Common Fisheries Policy and of the price paid for Westminster control of our fishery. They clearly have no understanding of equity, of the value of the investment which has built up this stock or of the proper process for consultation.

"I will be raising this with Scotland's fishing minster to establish why this appalling decision came to made without any discussion with the industry which is being affected. It has always been bad enough that Scottish fishing interests and the Scottish Minister are left sitting in the corridor when the EU discusses our fishing interests. Now they are left in the corridor when UK decisions are made.

"This all reinforces the need for independent decision-making in Scotland."


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