Hudghton (Greens/EFA) - I voted in favour of this report, which had been substantially strengthened at committee stage through the adoption of all nine amendments I had tabled. The overwhelming decision of the European Parliament to support an area of protected waters around the north of Scotland is very welcome indeed. MEPs from around Europe have recognised the importance of these waters to Scotland's northern communities. The Commission must now recognise that the principle of unrestricted access to waters is unsustainable. Fishing rights must be allocated to the communities who depend on them. That is now the political will of the European Parliament and no amount of lobbying by those who demand equal access to waters and resources should be allowed to undermine that. Parliament's vote is a rare example of good news coming from Europe for Scotland's fishermen and I call upon the Council of Ministers, who will make the final decision, to follow our lead.

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