Cod crusaders and skippers' group hand in largest ever petition to the Scottish Parliament – Fishupdate.com

Cod crusaders and skippers’ group hand in largest ever petition to the Scottish Parliament Published:  03 February, 2005

The Scottish Executive is now under pressure to react positively to calls for withdrawal from the EU’s Common Fisheries Policy following receipt of the largest ever petition.

The Scottish Parliament’s Petitions committee has called on the Executive to look at the issue after it formally received a 160,000 name petition from the Cod Crusaders, working in conjunction with the Fishermens’ Association Limited.

Carol MacDonald, from the Cod Crusaders, said the Executive now has to pressurise Tony Blair’s UK administration to leave the CFP.

Ms MacDonald added that all the problems of the fishing industry stemmed from the CFP and the restrictions it placed on fishing.

“For the past 33 years the CFP has not only let the fishing industry down but let dependent communities slide into further poverty and decline,” she said.

“We cannot stress enough that this is a severe community issue.”

The Fisherman’s Association said the CFP was an “obnoxious crime against the British nation”.

During a heated session of Holyrood’s public petitions committee, association chairman Tom Hay said: “There is absolutely no doubt the only way of rescue for the British fishing industry is through the restoration of national control by a United Kingdom Act of Parliament.”

One member of the committee, Jackie Baillie, asked the petitioners if they accepted that the cod collapse off the coast of the US and Canada was caused by over-fishing, suggesting that CFP curbs were required to prevent a similar situation here.

However association members said the collapse of the Grand Bank stocks were caused by ecological changes, with the cod moving habitat and leaving those areas rather than being hunted close to extinction.

The petitions committee will now write to the Executive with details of the petition.

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