Public opinion sought on future maritime policy –

Public opinion sought on future maritime policy Published:  06 February, 2007

Struan Stevenson

SCOTS Tory MEP Struan Stevenson is inviting the public to contribute their views on the European Commission’s Maritime Policy Green Paper. As rapporteuer to the EU Fisheries Committee on this issue, it is Mr Stevenson’s role to gather opinion and feed it back to the Committee before a formal response is made to the Commission.

The proposed maritime policy affects many sectors and individuals including fishing, aquaculture, energy production, shipping, recreation, tourism, defence, climate change, pollution, costal erosion and rising sea levels. To gather as wide a response as possible, Mr Stevenson is holding his consultation through ThinkScotland, an online think tank focusing on European issues and how Scotland can influence the legislative process.

Speaking at the Maritime Seminar hosted by the Scottish Executive in Brussels today, Mr Stevenson said: “The Commission’s Green Paper offers an opportunity to integrate the vast plethora of laws and regulations that cover EU maritime interests, while at the same time developing new ways to protect and enhance the marine heritage, while encouraging the sustainable exploitation of our seas and oceans. The co-ordination of the different sectors and activities is essential if we are to realise the full potential of Europe’s maritime interests and to realise the vision of clean, healthy, safe, productive and biologically diverse oceans and seas.

“In preparing a full response for the Fisheries Committee there are five specific questions which I am posing through ThinkScotland to gauge a clear steer of the will of the Scots, who may be directly affected by any changes to the maritime regulations. The more responses and comments I receive, the more representative of Scottish interests my final comments can be.

“The importance of the sea is critical to the future survival of many in Scotland, especially in the fishing industry and coastal towns. I would encourage anyone affected by this emerging legislation to ensure that your concerns are aired in this crucial stage of finalising the full maritime policy. I hope you will take a few minutes to go online at and add your voice to the debate.”

The 5 questions are:

1. What measures should be taken to improve the image of the fishing industry?

2. Do you think a 3D map of the sea bed would be a useful tool for the fishing industry, the energy sector and conservationists?

3. Should industries who discharge effluent into the sea contribute to a European fund for conservation and fish re-stocking?

4. Should EU funding for the fisheries sector be moved away from production-led subsidies (vessel modernisation etc) towards conservation and management?

5. What is the best way to maintain viable coastal communities?

A full copy of the full Maritime Policy is available online at

Comments on the 5 questions, or any other element of the maritime policy should be sent to before 28th February 2007. There is also an opportunity to share your views and join the online debate at – click on the ‘News Forum’. is published by Special Publications. Special Publications also publish FISHupdate magazine, Fish Farmer, the Fish Industry Yearbook, the Scottish Seafood Processors Federation Diary, the Fish Farmer Handbook and a range of wallplanners.