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Eilidh Whiteford, MP for Banff & Buchan

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Whiteford Speaks Out In Fisheries Debate

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Speaking during a fisheries debate in the House of Commons today (Tuesday) SNP Westminster Fisheries spokesperson Eilidh Whiteford urged the UK Government to learn from the abject failure of the CFP and prioritise an approach that puts regional management at its heart.

Dr Whiteford also highlighted the success of the Scottish Government’s catch quote scheme which could help deliver a discard-free fishery.

Dr Whiteford, the MP for Banff and Buchan, said:

“This is a crucial time for Scottish fishing and the UK Government must learn from the abject failure of the CFP in its current form. It has failed the fishing industry, it has failed as a conservation strategy, and it’s failed our coastal communities.

“The real challenges we face now have to be seen in the context of a Common Fisheries Policy that for over 30 years has been systematically damaging our marine ecosystems, eroding the livelihoods of fishermen, and is inconsistently applied across the European Union.

“The CFP must be replaced with a workable model of fisheries management, and there is a growing consensus in the industry, among fishing leaders, scientists, and environmental NGOs that a Regionalised approach offers a better way forward than the one-size-fits-nobody approach we have at the moment.

“We need to get clarity from the European Commission on how they intend to deliver a regionalised approach. Until we get effective involvement in fisheries management from key stakeholders, the people on whom the decisions impact, we will not be able to move forward in any way. At this stage w e are still some distance from a policy that is environmentally, economically and socially sustainable for our communities.

“Scotland has been at the forefront of pushing alternatives to the culture of discards imposed by Europe's flawed fisheries policy that forces fishermen to dump good quality fish back overboard, dead into the sea. This is a waste of a valuable food and economic resource. Nobody gains from discards.

“The Scottish Government has set a priority for the upcoming EU negotiations to extend the successful catch quota scheme. I urge the UK Government to work with Scottish Ministers as well as international partners, including the Norwegians and the Commission, to drive that measure forward so that we can actually expand the catch quota system and make its success something that we can build on right across the European Union.”

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