At the opening of the European Parliament plenary session in Strasbourg today (Monday 12 January) Ian Hudghton MEP delivered a challenge to the European Commission to accept that the unworkable and discriminatory fisheries deal for 2004 be re-examined with urgency. In his speech, which was applauded by colleagues, the SNP MEP said:

"Just before Christmas the annual Brussels Pantomime, otherwise known as the Council of Fisheries Ministers, delivered for the second successive year a disastrous outcome for Scotland's coastal and island communities.

"On the one hand an increase in the haddock quota was granted, but on the other hand a limit of only 15 days at sea per month plus restricted access to certain key areas is likely to bankrupt many of our boats.

"Incredibly, the UK government-led ministerial team volunteered Scotland for this suicidal package! It is little wonder that Scots support for the CFP has all but evaporated.

"I call upon the European Commission to accept that this unworkable and discriminatory set of regulations be re-examined with urgency."

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