29 June 2012

Stevenson Welcomes Fisheries Agreement

Stewart Stevenson, SNP MSP for Banffshire & Buchan Coast, has welcomed the news that the EU has reached an agreement with the Danish Presidency on a comprehensive sanctions regime for fleets engaging in irresponsible fishing practices.

Recently, Iceland and the Faroes have unilaterally expanded their mackerel catch exponentially and, while the Icelandic and Faroese fleets maintain that mackerel stocks are themselves increasing, their actions have been met with widespread condemnation.

The package agreed upon by the EU will allow, where appropriate, the imposition of trade sanctions on those countries employing unsustainable fishing practices. These include quantitative restrictions on the importation of fish into the EU, restrictions on port access by vessels under the flag of the offending country or territory and embargoes on the sale of vessels and equipment.  

Commenting after the announcement, Mr Stevenson said:

“Ideally, activation of these sanctions will not be necessary, and I think the real hope is that they serve as a deterrent against the unsustainable plundering of fish stocks, and a catalyst for productive and consensual talks with the EU. However, it is reassuring to know that we are not powerless to respond where and when irresponsible fishing practices do occur, and that action can be taken to prevent the sort of activity which threatens our fishing industry.”

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