"Coastal Communities Facing Similar Problems"

SNP President Ian Hudghton MEP today offered support for Canadian fishing communities who have experienced major social and economic challenges in recent years. Mr Hudghton's comments came after a meeting with Canadian Fisheries Minister Loyola Hearn MP at the Canadian Embassy in Brussels. Mr Hearn was in Brussels to discuss fisheries issues with various EU officials and as part of his visit agreed to hold informal talks with a delegation from the European Parliament.

After the meeting, Mr Hudghton said:

"The coastal communities of Eastern Canada have had to face severe challenges in recent years. The issues of declining stocks, environmental changes and illegal fishing by overseas fleets have all impacted on a once thriving industry.

"Many of the problems facing Canadian fishermen will be familiar to Scotland's fishing communities. However, we can also take encouragement from the positive attitude shown from across the Atlantic. The Canadian fishing industry is looking to the future with hope and their government seems intent on securing the industry for future generations.

"The stable future of Scotland's industry too can be secured with the necessary political will. Scottish fishing policy decided in Scotland is essential for those hopes to be realised.

"When Scotland can co-operate on an equal footing with our neighbours across both the Atlantic and the North Sea, we can ensure that decisions are taken to safeguard those fleets which have fished northern waters for generations and centuries."

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