Wipeout Fear If Scrapping Cash Taken Up Fishing Monthly Published: 28 January, 2003
THERE will be virtually nothing left of the Scottish white fish fleet if a £40million decommissioning package is taken up, an industry leader warned tonight.
Commenting on the Scottish Executive aid package worth a total of £50m, Scottish Fishermens Federation president Alex Smith said that this was a huge commitment.
But directing £40million at scrapping more boats from an already diminished fleet was not the way to go.
And he wished the aid package had been more evenly balanced between decommissioning and transitional aid.
The fact is that if we spend £40million on decommissioning the white fish fleet, we will have virtually nothing left.
And what is the point of that given that the whole of the industrys infrastructure would collapse as a result. Directing cash like this is not the answer.
Earlier Mr Smith and other industry leaders met Prime Minister Tony Blair and underlined that the UKs isolation on fisheries issues in Europe- and the bullying tactics of the European Commission had to end.
Mr Smith added: Mr Blair listened attentively to us and I underlined my deep concerns on how the Commission had coerced and almost blackmailed ministers at the pre-Christmas fisheries council.
What I said was borne out by Scottish Fisheries Minister Ross Finnie.
Mr Blair gave a commitment to get involved and he is going to ask ministers to get cod recovery plan proposals in place and he will try to add his weight behind a bid for a fair deal.
Fleet faces being virtually eclipsed