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SNP Gets European Parliment Backing to Safeguard Coastal Waters

SCOTLAND, UK - Scottish Nationalist Party (SNP) President, Ian Hudghton MEP, has welcomed a vote in the European Parliament which will ensure that Europe's fishing nations retain control of their coastal waters.

The unanimous vote in the parliament's fisheries committee was on a legislative report drafted by Mr Hudghton seeking to renew the current control regime within 12 miles of each EU state.

At present resources within each 12-mile coastal zone are the responsibility of each fishing nation. The current regulations are due to expire on 31 December of this year however - and that could potentially open up all coastal waters to vessels from across Europe.

Mr Hudghton was nominated by the fisheries committee to steer emergency legislation through the parliament to prevent this from happening.

Commenting after the vote, Mr Hudghton said: "Europe's inshore waters are of huge importance to coastal communities and it is vital that these communities are protected.

"There has been a very real threat that these water would be opened up for a free-for-all, and I am grateful that MEPs from across Europe have voted to prevent this from happening.

"The European Commission have themselves acknowledged that national control of coastal waters has been one of the few successes of the current CFP regime. Lessons should be learned from this and, as negotiations for CFP reform continue, we should look at more ways to return control to the fishing nations.

"The Scottish government has actively lobbied within the Council of Ministers for the 12-mile zones to be retained and I have been able to work in parallel with them in the parliament.

"The overwhelming support for my report from parliamentary colleagues shows that there is real support for decision making powers being made close to home."

Lucy Towers

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