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Ian Hudghton
Scottish National Party
Member of the European Parliament

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April 2003

5 April 2003

SNP Euro MP Ian Hudghton accompanied Rob Gibson of Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross constituency, on a series of visits in Lochinver (pictured) and Kinlochbervie. The main purpose was to allow local fishing industry representatives to have their say in the SNPís consultation on the need for a survival and development strategy for fishing dependent communities. Commenting Ian Hudghton said:

"The comments Rob Gibson and I have heard will be taken on board in the process of formulating a strategy for all of Scotland, whose fisheries interests have been so badly betrayed by U.K. governments in European negotiations."

At Kinlochbervie a local crofting community representative graphically illustrated the plight of this industry, especially in the light of unfavourable treatment arising from the current Less Favoured Areas scheme.

A visit to the Highland Council Harbour office at Lochinver demonstrated a good example of the kind of job dispersal which should be adopted by central government to smaller communities, so that economic benefits can be generated and repopulation encouraged.

4 April 2003

Ian Hudghton MEP accompanied by SNP local representative David Thompson visited Avoch, in the Black Isle to hear the concerns of Avoch Fishermenís Association in the light of the disastrous reduction in quotas and days at sea arising from the European Council meeting in December. Commenting, Mr. Hudghton said:

"I will never understand how it came to be that our Minister actually voted "for" a deal in Europe which discriminates against Scotlandís interests. Clearly this Labour/Liberal government considers fisheries to be expendable, just as the Tory government did when they negotiated the U.K.ís entry to the Common Market 30 years ago."

Later in their tour the SNP team visited local farmers and representatives of the auction mart at Dingwall, pictured left, who highlighted the impractical nature of EU proposals for double-tagging of sheep. While accepting that there is a need for traceability, the local farming industry makes the point that in Scotland SAMU (Sheep Animal Movements Unit) provides a practical solution already which ought to satisfy the European Commissionís requirements.

Ian Hudghton has already written to Ministers and will continue to campaign for a strong line to be taken on Scotlandís behalf. The recent fisheries disaster where the U.K. Minister voted against Scotlandís interests must not be repeated in the forthcoming decisions on sheep-tagging and review of the Common Agriculture Policy.


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