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Government Proposes Changes To Historical Fishing Rights


UK - The UK government is preparing to abandon the principle whereby fishing rights are allocated to countries on the basis of historical precedent, a decision which has sparked outrage with Scottish National Party President, Ian Hudghton.

In a UK government briefing sent to all MEPs it is claimed that allocating traditional rights to fishing communities "stifles innovative business and the ability to adapt to climate change". The briefing was sent out ahead of a key vote in the European Parliament tomorrow (26 February) on reform of the Common Fisheries Policy.

Fishing opportunities are currently allocated under the principle of "relative stability" whereby there is a clear link between individual fishing nations and the waters and stocks they are allowed to fish. For example, the majority of North Sea haddock quotas are allocated to Scotland - in line with traditional catches.

Mr Hudghton said: "The ongoing review of European fisheries policy gives us the opportunity to finally get management issues right. A move away from the centralised structures of the CFP is long overdue and powers should be returned to Europe's fishing nations.

"The UK Government however seem intent on abandoning Scotland's traditional rights. After decades of sell-out by successive London governments, this is one final act of betrayal towards our coastal communities.

"London Labour claim that respect for historic rights 'stifles innovation' - at a time when the Scottish fleet is at the forefront of promoting sustainable practices. They claim that it harms the ability to adapt to climate change - when the Scottish government has taken active steps to promote fuel efficiency.

"The debate should be about returning powers to Scotland - not giving rights away. It is utterly shameful that Gordon Brown's government are actively campaigning against Scotland's fishermen".