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CFP Debate Begins for real

SNP MEP comments on Common Fisheries Policy

SNP President Ian Hudghton MEP has called for a fundamental rethink into key aspects of the Common Fisheries Policy as the European Parliament's reform deliberations got underway.  Mr Hudghton's comments were made as the Parliament held its first substantive debate following the publication of the Commission's proposals for fisheries management reform.

Mr Hudghton highlighted in the Parliament's Fisheries Committee the fact that the Commission is continuing to propose equal access for all EU fishermen to all waters and resources.

The equal access clause has been a feature of the CFP since it was first established in 1983 and is considered fundamental by the European Commission.  The Commission also accepts however that the CFP has completely failed since its inception.

Speaking after the committee meeting, Mr Hudghton said:

"Scottish fishermen have made numerous sacrifices over the last few years and, indeed, many family businesses have called it a day.  The hope is that, for those remaining in the industry, the sacrifices will bear fruit in the future.

"The Commission's insistence however that equal access to all waters and resources remains in the CFP can only threaten those hopes.  The fear remains that the Scottish fleet's efforts will result in more fish in the sea - only for them to be fished out by an armada from elsewhere.

"The Commission accepts that the CFP has been a total failure and has called for a radical reform.  Nevertheless, they are refusing to go to the fundamentals of the failed policy.

"Real reform means returning powers to the nations and communities who have historically fished individual waters - and equal access remains an obstacle to recovery."