SNP President Ian Hudghton MEP has today (Thursday) reacted angrily to a vote in the European Parliament which could result in fishing fleets from around Europe gaining access to Scotland's historic fishing rights.

The Parliament voted in favour of a text which allows for unused Scottish quotas to be transferred to other countries in the EU. Countries such as Spain currently do not have access to quotas in key Scottish waters such as the North Sea.

A record published by the European Parliament after the vote shows that whilst the SNP voted against the text, all of Scotland's other MEPs voted in favour of quota transfers. Mr Hudghton commented:

"It beggars belief that in the week the Commission publishes their consultation paper on the future of the Common Fisheries Policy, the European Parliament votes in favour of a North Sea fishing free-for-all.

"At a time when we should be united in arguing for fishing nations to retain their historic rights and take back management powers from Brussels, MEPs have voted to destroy these rights completely.

"If Scottish fishermen don't catch all their allocated quota in a given year, the uncaught fish remain in the sea to replenish stocks in future years. Logic dictates that this is a good thing for fish stocks and a good thing for a sustainable fishing industry.

"The European Parliament however seems to believe that every last fish in a quota should be taken from the sea, even if it means opening Scottish waters up to fleets with no historic rights.

"The Commission has acknowledged that the CFP has failed completely and the launch of this week's consultation should unite Scotland's politicians in demanding fishing management be returned to Europe's maritime nations. Instead, the London parties have fallen at the first hurdle and voted to give Scotland's rights away.

"The SNP is committed to a dismantling of the CFP and a return of powers to Scotland. It is time for politicians of all parties to wake up to reality and demand that Scotland's interests are heard in Europe".

Notes:

The vote in the European Parliament was on proposed EU legislation on control and compliance in fisheries.

The vote included a text added by a Spanish MEP which allows the Commission to reallocate unused fishing quota during a year to other Member States (Amendment 41).. Currently quotas within the EU are allocated to countries on the basis of their historic rights.
Records published after the vote show that whilst the SNP voted against the text, Scotland's other 5 MEPs voted in favour.

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