New Commissioner To Visit Scotland

The Fish Site
by The Fish Site
20 January 2010, at 12:00am

SCOTLAND, UK - Scottish National Party (SNP) President Ian Hudghton MEP has invited the European Commission's nominee for the post of Fisheries Commissioner to Scotland to view firsthand the pioneering efforts of Scottish fishermen to conserve stocks.

The invitation came after the Commission candidate, Ms Maria Damanaki, underwent three hours of intensive questioning by the European Parliament's Fisheries Committee.

If approved by the full Parliament, Ms Damanaki will oversee the forthcoming reform of European fisheries policy. Whilst Mr Hudghton was impressed by Ms Damanaki's willingness to engage fully with Members of the Committee, he expressed concerns that some of her statements showed a lack of awareness as to the extent of the CFP's failings.

Mr Hudghton commented: "Ms Damanaki was competent, well-briefed and seemed genuinely willing to engage in the debate on the future of fisheries management. Assuming she is confirmed in post, this attitude will be most welcome. I also welcome her comment earlier this week on CFP Reform, when she said that "the whole policy is up for discussion".

"Nevertheless, some of her comments merely reflect what the Commission has been saying for the last quarter-century - that Brussels has all the power and that Brussels must exercise that power in full.

"The starting point of the Commission's apparatchiks is that the EU's founding treaties give total power to them and that that control must remain at the centre. I take a different view - I believe that Europe's fishing nations should work together to develop policies tailor-made for each country, each fishery and each maritime region.

"I have invited Ms Damanaki to come to Scotland at the earliest possible opportunity to see firsthand the efforts of the Scottish fleet. The Scottish Government, working in full co-operation with the fishing industry and other groups, has pioneered ground-breaking schemes to conserve our precious stocks.

"Scotland's efforts are just a start but they offer an example of what individual nations can achieve when working in agreement with their fishing sector. Real powers must be returned to all Europe's fishing nations - and the new Fisheries Commissioner must stand up to the Brussels establishment if she is to achieve success during her time in office."