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Bold Changes For Scottish Fisheries Needed

SCOTLAND, UK - Scotland's fishing industry can look forward to both opportunities and challenges in 2012, said Fisheries Secretary Richard Lochhead.

He said 2012 was shaping up to be a pivotal year for the industry, with reform of the Common Fisheries Policy on the agenda and new marketing opportunities for Scottish seafood.

Mr Lochhead said: "Scots fishermen land some of the best seafood in the world and there is growing demand for our quality food produce both at home and abroad. Our fleet and onshore sectors make a valuable contribution to our economy and to protect that we need to make the most of the opportunities and not just talk about the challenges.

"2012 will see the launch of our new Seafood Partnership which will offer new marketing and promotion opportunities for Scottish seafood. But 2012 will also see negotiations continue on the reform of the CFP - and radical reform is needed to ensured our fishing fleet can look forward to the future with confidence.

"The CFP has decimated Scottish fishing communities, wiped out jobs and many of Europe's fish stocks. That's why we must make the most of the opportunity we have to radically reform European's fishing policy.

"A new policy can't come soon enough. We can take something that hasn't been working and turn it into something positive. However, this can only be achieved if Europe makes bold changes to fisheries management. We need a decentralised policy that delivers power to Scotland to build on our growing reputation for progressive and sustainable fisheries management.

"Scottish and sustainable - that is a powerful image for our seafood that our fishermen can sell to the world. Given the chance, that is what we can deliver. With bold changes to how we manage our fisheries and how we market our seafood, we can deliver a bright future for our fishing communities.

"We have to work together to overcome many of the challenges, to make sure we have well managed fisheries and make the most of the opportunities - the Scottish Government is committed to playing our part.

"I'd like to take this opportunity to thank Scotland's fishermen for all they have done to ensure people - at home and abroad - can enjoy our delicious seafood. Looking forward to 2012, I'd like to wish all our fishermen a healthy, happy and prosperous new year."

Lucy Towers

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