Vote Tainted By Labour-Liberal Attack On Scottish Fleet

SNP President Ian Hudghton MEP has today (Tuesday) welcomed the European Parliament's final approval of a reformed Common Fisheries Policy which will return greater control over fisheries to Europe's fishing nations.

The reformed CFP allows for decisions to be taken on a regional basis, in contrast to the current one-size-fits all approach. The new law will come into effect on 1st January 2014.

The European Parliament also narrowly rejected a last-ditch attempt supported by the UK Labour and Lib Dem parties to impose a blanket ban on trawling below a certain depth. The Parliament instead voted for a science-led approach, including a ban on deep sea trawling where necessary to protect vulnerable marine ecosystems.

Mr Hudghton commented:

"For thirty years the CFP has failed fish stocks and failed the coastal communities dependent upon them. Centralised control by way of Brussels diktat has left many fish stocks seriously depleted and cost countless jobs around the coast.

"The reformed CFP brings powers back to Europe's fishing nations and will allow for more responsive decision-making. For decades the CFP has forced fishermen to discard fish back into the sea; the new policy will change that.

"The only sour note was a last-minute attempt by some MEPs to impose one last one-size-fits all measure on Scottish fishermen. The London-led Labour and Lib Dems supported an attempted ban on trawling in the Atlantic, a move which would have had a devastating effect on the Scottish industry.

"Fortunately this move was rejected and the Scottish government can get on with adapting the new CFP to Scotland's needs".

• The European Parliament voted on the main CFP reform regulation and on separate legislation aimed at deep-sea fishing in the Atlantic.
• The main political groups in the Parliament had previously agreed a text on deep-sea fishing that would have banned seabed trawling in all areas shown to be environmentally vulnerable. A number of MEPs reneged on this agreement and attempted to enforce a ban in all waters below 600 metres.
• This attempt was spearheaded by English Lib Dem MEP Chris Davies and was supported by the UK Labour party. The move was rejected by 342 votes to 326.

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