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Vital Week for Scottish Fisheries

SCOTLAND, UK - Scottish Fisheries Secretary Richard Lochhead will promote Scottish seafood this week and seek to safeguard the future of the fishing industry, with various engagements in Europe.

Mr Lochhead will be attending the European Seafood Expo in Brussels one of the worlds largest seafood trade events with a busy schedule including meeting both the Norwegian Fisheries Minister and the EU Fisheries Commissioner, and hosting a reception for representatives of new emerging markets for Scottish seafood exports.

Later in the week the Cabinet Secretary will be in Luxembourg for the EU Fisheries Council, as critical discussions on reforms of the Common Fisheries Policy continue.

Speaking ahead of departure, Mr Lochhead said: Last weeks sea fishery statistics revealed the value of Scottish landings rose by 15 per cent last year to 500 million, the highest level in a decade. Meanwhile fish and shellfish exports led by farmed salmon are at record levels, worth over 648 million in 2011. The Scottish Government is determined to support further growth and improved profitability for these sectors.

Scottish seafood is unsurpassed on the world stage for excellence and taste and is increasingly sought after. The Seafood Expo will offer opportunities for Scottish companies to boost their exports and access new markets.

On Tuesday I will hold discussions with the Norwegian Fisheries Minister on how we can work closer together to share best practice in the aquaculture industry, as we seek to ensure a sustainable, long-term future for the sectors in both countries.

Looking ahead to the Fisheries Council meeting in Luxemburg, Mr Lochhead added: To ensure a successful future for Scottish fisheries, we need a new Common Fisheries Policy that works for Scotland. The current EU policy is deeply flawed and has failed Scotland. Radical changes are essential and we must not let the opportunities presented by the current CFP reform process pass Scotland by.

I will be pressing our position, which has growing support, that the Commission must decentralise its control of fisheries. This is the only way that a sustainable future can be secured for both the fish stocks and the EUs fishing communities.

The Commissions flawed proposals on transferable fishing quotas are again up for discussion, which I will oppose vigorously. A one-size-fits all mandatory quota system across the EUs diverse fisheries makes no sense.

Mr Lochhead will attend the European Seafood Expo on April 24-25 and the EU AgriFish Council in Luxembourg on April 26-27.

His schedule at the European Seafood Expo includes: touring Scottish exhibitors alongside European Fisheries Commissioner Maria Damanaki; hosting a reception for new emerging markets; discussions with CEOs of international aquaculture companies; and a meeting with Lisbeth Berg-Hansen, Norwegian Fisheries Minister.

Lucy Towers

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