Fishers Grouping Go On The Offensive –

Fishers Grouping Go On The Offensive Fishing Monthly Published:  05 July, 2002

A POWERFUL fishermen’s grouping signalled today it is going on the offensive in a bid to protect it from claimed horse trading and double-dealing by the European Commission.

Meeting in Banff in North-east Scotland, the Scottish White Fish Producers’ Association unanimously condemned the deepwater fisheries deal, which it says, has left Scots fishers out in the cold and threatened extinction of fragile stocks.

And association secretary George MacRae said that as well as investigating a legal challenge to the EU deal, the association was underlining its belief that the Scottish Executive should take up a challenge to the European Court on the fishing industry’s behalf, given Scottish Fisheries Minister Ross Finnie’s opposition to the deal and his confirmation that there is no new scientific evidence to back it.

Mr MacRae added: “We agreed today that we are going to take a much tougher line on European issues because the goodwill has gone has far as our relations with the European Commission are concerned and the Commission has a huge furrow to plough to recover any credibility.” And they would be going for a positive and active media campaign to highlight European issues.

Meanwhile association chairman Mike Park said the deepwater deal posed the potential for the entire deepwater fishery to be wiped out.

He also believed the association had to up its profile to combat the “double dealing and horse trading” being meted out by the Commission and fisheries Commissioner Franz Fischler.

“We cannot trust the Commission or Mr Fischler,”he said.