SNP Will Fight Nonsensical Closures

SNP President Ian Hudghton MEP has reacted angrily to a proposal laid before the European Parliament which would sea up to 20 per cent of Scotland's waters closed to all fishing activities.

The proposal comes from German MEP Ulrike Rodust who is steering the Commission's proposal for a reformed Common Fisheries Policy through the parliament.

Ms Rodust has tabled a legislative amendment which would require all EU Member States to designate between 10 and 20 per cent of their waters as "stock recovery areas", where all fishing activities will be prohibited. The proposals will be presented to the European Parliament in Strasbourg on this Monday (21st May).
Mr Hudghton commented:

"These proposals are utterly nonsensical and have no practical or scientific basis. The requirement for all European countries to close a fixed percentage of their waters takes no account whatsoever of the state of their fisheries.

"The proposals will have a devastating effect on Scotland's fishing communities quite simply because we have one of the largest coastal areas in Europe. Scotland's North Sea and Atlantic waters are the envy of many other countries and it is ludicrous to suggest that a fifth of the area must be closed.

"Scotland's fishermen have been at the forefront of developing innovative techniques to avoid discards. Our fleet has also seen massive scrapping programmes in recent years.

"Many of Scotland's fish stocks are accredited as being in a healthy state and many more are getting there. The suggestion of an arbitrary fishing ban in Scottish waters is therefore ludicrous.

"This proposal smacks of more centralised control from Brussels at a time when fisheries management powers should be returned to Europe's fishing nations. It is imperative that everyone in Scotland unites to have these nonsensical closures thrown out."

Notes for editors:

The proposals are contained in the Ms Rodust's report on the main regulation of the CFP. The report will be presented to the Parliament's Fisheries Committee on Monday. It will be voted on in the coming months.

The report is available at:
http://www.europarl.europa.eu/meetdocs/2009_2014/documents/pech/pr/892/892576/892576en.pdf

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