MANAGING fish quotas across Europe must not become the victim of an ill considered one size fits all EU policy, Scotland’s Fisheries Secretary said today.
EU proposals for transferable fishing quotas could open the door for historic fishing rights to be traded out of Scotland.
Speaking ahead of a key EU Fisheries Council meeting in Luxembourg tomorrow, Richard Lochhead said: “I have consistently opposed the Commission’s ill-thought-out proposals for Transferable Fishing Quotas. Simply put, we must not be in a position where our fishermen lose their right to fish our waters to people with the deepest pockets.
“A one-size-fits-all approach to managing quota across Europe will not solve the problems facing European fisheries. It is imperative that the Commission is left in no doubt that a system of mandatory transferable fishing quotas is not acceptable to us. It would be unforgivable if the EU encouraged a future generation to sell off our nations fishing birthright.
“Given the diversity of our fleet and the vulnerable communities in which they are based it is important that National Governments – working closely with our fishermen – are responsible for arrangements to manage quota.
“I strongly opposed the Commission’s Common Fisheries Policy proposals for transferable fishing quotas when published last July and I am pleased that since then my concerns have been echoed by many other European countries.
“I have actively promoted Scotland’s priorities on CFP reform across Europe in recent months, ensuring that we are at the forefront of the reform debate. And I have pressed the UK Government to ensure the UK position leaves no room for doubt as we look ahead to a tough period of negotiation before agreement is reached next year.”