Battle to quit Brussels fish policy wins a boost –

Battle to quit Brussels fish policy wins a boost Fishing Monthly Published:  06 November, 2003

A GROUP fighting to save the fishing industry have clocked up a major triumph by spearheading a move to form a new organisation aimed at taking the UK out of the Common Fisheries Policy.

The United Fishing Industry Alliance has been born at a sometimes stormy meeting in Edinburgh thanks to the Cod Crusaders, two skippers’ wives from the North-east of Scotland who are determined to try to save what is left of their industry.

The launch meeting faced a barrage of questions from catching representatives and MSPs alike over whether it can achieve anything and what its terms of reference will be.

However one of the Cod Crusaders, Carol MacDonald said the development was a major triumph for the pressure group on its first anniversary.

“I am overwhelmed at what we have achieved,” she said.

Barrie Deas, chief executive of the National Federation of Fishermen’s Organisations said the new alliance had to be clear about its aims. Would there, for example, be a ban on foreign vessels operating in UK waters if withdrawal from the CFP was successful and what exactly did the new group mean by national control?

Some MSPs also questioned both the legality and practicality of shaking off Brussels when it comes to fishing policy.

But Scottish Nationalist Party fisheries spokesman Richard Lochhead said the only thing that politicians listened to was concerted pressure which was why the new group had to move forward.

A constitution and mission statement will now be drawn up by a steering group.