Hudghton (Greens/EFA) - Mr President, I wish to draw attention to an innovation in European marine conservation. On Saturday, Scotland became the first country in Europe to implement a voluntary scheme of real-time closures of fishing grounds, with the aim of safeguarding cod stocks. That scheme, which was developed as a joint initiative between the new Scottish Government and the fishing industry, will hopefully provide a template for future marine conservation projects. I understand that the Scottish Government has engaged with its counterparts in Denmark and Norway with a view to learning from this particular project.

The common fisheries policy has been nothing but a disaster for Scotland to date, and I firmly believe that the future of fisheries management lies not in central control from Brussels but in direct cooperation between fishing nations. The Scottish Government and the industry are to be commended for taking such an innovative approach on this matter. I hope, in the mean time, that when it comes to the December Council their voluntary efforts will be taken into account, recognised and rewarded.

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