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Ian Hudghton
Scottish National Party
Member of the European Parliament

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4 June
SNP wins fisheries victory in European Parliament

SNP Euro-MP Ian Hudghton MEP today expressed his delight after the European Parliament approved a report he had written on key fishing regulations. The report, which won cross-party backing at a full sitting of the Parliament in Strasbourg, calls for measures which will severely restrict industrial fishing in waters around Scotland. It also instructs the European Commission to take full account of the views of fishermen and other stakeholders before implementing any new rules regarding the catching of fish.

Mr Hudghton said:

"The European Parliament sent a clear message to the Commission today - we demand that you listen to fishermen's views. The Parliament also demanded that the practice of industrial fishing boats being allowed to fish for juvenile fish be brought to an end.

"Under current EU rules, industrial boats fishing with the very smallest mesh sizes are allowed to retain juvenile cod and haddock - on the condition that the fish is not sold for human consumption. Meanwhile, the Scottish fleet - fishing with the largest mesh sizes - are told that they have to throw small fish over the side. The idea that small cod can be kept for pig-feed whilst the Scottish quality fish fleet is being destroyed is an obscenity. Parliament today called time on the industrial fishers - and demanded that they observe the same rules as everyone else.

"Parliament also demanded that any new measures regarding such issues as net sizes and minimum fish sizes be approved only after consultation with regional fisheries bodies. The way forward for fisheries management is for decisions to be taken at local levels, and the Commission must listen to the views of fishermen.

"Today's vote was a victory for common sense. It now falls upon Ross Finnie and Elliot Morley to fight for these issues in the Council. We can only hope that Mr Finnie sees his re-appointment as Fisheries Minister as an opportunity to reverse some of the bad decisions he signed up to during the last Scottish Parliament."

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