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"Scottish Fleet's Efforts Count For Nothing"
SNP President Ian Hudghton MEP has today (Wednesday) expressed extreme disappointment after a committee of the European Parliament voted in favour of taxpayers' money being used to construct new fishing vessels.
The vote was on proposed legislation for a European Maritime and Fisheries Fund which will come into effect as part of a reformed Common Fisheries Policy. A coalition of French and Spanish MEPs had been pushing for subsidies for boat building to be reintroduced.
In the past decade the Scottish fleet has gone through significant reductions. At the same time, Scottish fishermen have actively worked with scientists and environmentalists in efforts to reduce overfishing.
Mr Hudghton commented:
"The Scottish fleet has worked hard in recent years to secure a sustainable future for the industry and this work is showing results in terms of increasing fish stocks. These efforts will however count for nothing if other countries are allowed to embark on a massive boat building programme.
"EU funding is important for the fishing industry and has been used in Scotland to improve storage on board, maximise energy efficiency and modernise port facilities. These investments are of value to our coastal communities and must be allowed to continue.
"Negotiations on the new fisheries fund are still ongoing in Brussels - and it is therefore imperative that efforts are made to reverse the European Parliament's shameful decision".