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Expressing anger on the day the European Commission published their long-term cod recovery plan, SNP Euro-MP Ian Hudghton MEP today pledged that the SNP will continue to lead the fight for Scotland's fishing communities. The pledge came after the Commission acknowledged in a press release that their proposal "will ruin fleets such as the Scottish fleet". Mr Hudghton went on to repeat SNP demands that Scotland leads the UK delegation at forthcoming fisheries talks in Brussels. Mr Hudghton said:
"The Commission has today finally conceded that it wants to destroy the Scottish fleet - and with it centuries of tradition. Franz Fischler claims that the Scots have had the biggest impact on cod stocks, yet allows other countries' fleets to continue the obscenity of industrial fishing unabated. This deliberate attempt to target one nation's fishing heritage is totally unacceptable.
"The Scottish fleet is being targeted because the UK can be depended upon to sell them out at every possible occasion. The UK cannot be allowed to go through with this final sell-out. The SNP will fight for our fishing communities at every possible occasion.
"In last week's Scottish election the SNP increased their share of the vote in Scotland's main fishing areas. We have been confirmed as Scotland's fishing party. And the new Scottish government must take into account the policies which the fishing communities voted for.
"Key amongst these is the demand that the Scottish Fisheries Minister leads for the UK at future Fisheries Council meetings. Whoever forms the next government must make sure that this demand is met - or be guilty of our coastal communities' final betrayal".
Commission press release Memo/03/97 acknowledges that the plans "will ruin certain fleets such as the Scottish fleet and leave others unaffected."