SNP MEP Ian Hudghton has renewed calls for the Common Fisheries Policy to be scrapped and for the European Commission to face up to the social and economic effects of its policies on fishing communities.

The MEP and SNP President was the only Scot to speak in a debate in the European Parliament in Strasbourg on improving the economic situation in the fishing industry where MEPs were giving their reactions to European Commission proposals. He was especially critical of Commission policies to force the scrapping of fishing vessels and to drive people out of the industry for good.

Speaking in Parliament, Mr Hudghton said:

"Fishing dependent communities in Scotland have suffered a drastic downturn in economic wellbeing in recent years directly as a result of political decisions made under the Common Fisheries Policy - decisions made with the active co-operation of the Scottish and UK Governments.

"Large numbers of vessels have been forcibly scrapped. The remainder are forcibly restricted to port for half of each month. On top of that fuel prices have drastically increased.

"The effect on fishing communities, on the families who depend on the catching and processing sectors has been very serious and stressful.

"Regrettably, Scotland's coastal communities have continued to suffer while our own government repeatedly decline to make use of available opportunities to make financial assistance available.

"Some take the view that greater decentralisation of the CFP would be an improvement. I agree, that would be a step in the right direction. But ultimately, I believe that the CFP is destined to fail and only the scrapping of the CFP - and a change of government in Scotland - can give our fishing communities some hope for the long term future."

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