Anger Over Report Delay –

Anger Over Report Delay Fishing Monthly Published:  23 April, 2002

SCOTTISH Shadow Fisheries Minister and North East Scotland MSP, Richard Lochead tonight hit at “the wrecking tactics” of Mediterranean nations who he said have forced a five-week delay in publication of proposals for reform of the Common Fisheries Policy.

Proposals should have gone to EU Commissioners tomorrow but have now been delayed until the end of May, according to industry sources with Spain and other nations pressing for retention of subsidies for boat-building.

Mr Lochead said:“Reform of the CFP is essential if the Scottish fishing industry is to be saved for the future but now countries in southern Europe are trying to wreck reform with their demands.

“Like every other country they had their chance to put forward their views on CFP Reform. They shouldn’t be allowed to cause delay and discord at this stage.

“If the Mediterranean countries try to force this issue then there is the risk that other countries will seek additional concessions. If that happens then the whole reform process could be put at risk. The European Commission should not succumb to these demands and should press ahead with reform.

“We have waited long enough for necessary reforms such as zonal management for fisheries and we cannot afford to see these delays. There have been positive signs that what was to be proposed would be good for Scotland and that can’t be lost at this stage.

“Scottish and UK Ministers should make sure that the interests of the Scottish fleet are not trampled on by the selfish interests of other countries. If other countries want to fight it out then our Ministers should be in the frontline.

“Scottish fisheries minister Ross Finnie should make an immediate statement as to what he and the Government will do to protect Scottish fishing interests.”