Industry Is Now Political Football –

Industry Is Now Political Football Fishing Monthly Published:  29 June, 2002

THE recent deepwater fisheries decision must rank amongst the worst in fishing terms, which has taken place in the European Commission over the past few years, a Scottish fishing industry spokesman has contended.

And Scottish White Fish Producers’ Association secretary George MacRae says this only serves to underpin the view of fishermen that they must have a much more significant role to play in fisheries management as the fishing sector, both in the UK and elsewhere, simply becomes a political football.He said politics and effective fisheries management do not mix and go well together and even although politics continue to have the final say in fisheries management, whether in the EU or the UK, politicians have severely damaged their credibility in the eyes of fishermen who have contributed so much to the conservation of fish stocks around the UK.

Although UK politicians on this occasion recognised the foolishness and futility of the EU decision on deepwater stocks, the track record of UK politicians has not been particularly great either so far as the industry is concerned.The industry has not forgotten how, only just over year ago, the Scottish Executive refused to make £5/£6 million available for a tie up scheme in the interests of conservation, nor have they forgotten that as result of the actions of Margaret Thatcher’s Conservative Government, British fishermen have been denied access to European funds for years to enable them to regenerate their ageing fleet, now on average 25/26 years old.