Monday, 2 May 2011

Stevenson Backs SNP Fisheries Commitment

SNP candidate for Banffshire & Buchan Coast Stewart Stevenson today backed Scottish Fisheries Minister Richard Lochhead in his ten key pledges for the fishing industry if the SNP Government is re-elected this Thursday.

Commenting, Mr Stevenson said:

“Banffshire & Buchan Coast is the fishing powerhouse of Scotland, the UK and Europe. With the ports of Peterhead, Fraserburgh and now Buckie all within its boundaries, nowhere else in the Western Europe is fishing more important to the local community and the economy.

“The feedback I get from those involved in the industry is that in Richard Lochhead we have had a strong voice for Scottish fishing. There is still much to be done however, and that is why I am pleased that Richard has brought forward these ten key proposals on what a re-elected SNP Government would do for the industry.”

The Scottish National Party is pledging to continue to ensure fishing remains a priority if re-elected next week in the Scottish elections.

The SNP’s ten key pledges for the next five year Parliament are:
  1. Achieve a discard free fishery in Scottish waters over the course of the next Parliament as part of a reformed European fisheries policy that returns decision-making over fisheries to Scotland
  2. We will support a radically overhauled Cod recovery Plan that protect jobs and stocks and is tailored to Scottish needs
  3. We will seek action to resolve the ongoing dispute over mackerel quotas including offering to host a special Ministerial summit
  4. An added-value strategy to maximise the value of landings including the development of the Scottish “healthy and sustainable” brand
  5. A new entrants strategy to ensure that the industry attracts new blood
  6. A national strategy for Fisheries Dependent Areas
  7. A refreshed industry-science partnership to plug the gaps in existing fisheries science
  8. We will work with Higher Education institutions and industry to explore the case for a centre of excellence for fisheries management
  9. A onshore development plan to assist processors and onshore sectors adapt to changing markets
  10. Give greater prominence to inshore fisheries and consulting on new industry-led regulations for the static gear sector
Richard Lochhead, Fisheries Minister in the Scottish Government said:

“It has been a huge privilege to have served as Fisheries Minister in the first ever SNP Government. It’s been an honour to have worked closely with the men and women in our fishing industry who are amongst the best in the world at what they do. Scotland benefits from fishermen going to sea in the harshest of conditions to catch a great food resource and from those who take the raw materials and transform them into some of the best quality seafood products in the world.

“Fishing remains an important industry in Scotland and our fishermen need an experienced Scottish Government led by Alex Salmond to champion their cause more than ever before.

“The SNP has stood by our fishing communities through thick and thin over these past four years. We have worked in partnership with the industry to ensure that our fishermen can continue to put our marvellous Scottish seafood on tables throughout the world. The sector is a vital mainstay of our coastal economy and we can’t allow outside influences to undermine Scottish jobs. That’s why we need decision making over fishing passed from Brussels to Scotland and why we must grasp the opportunity presented by the vital negotiations on future EU fisheries policy to achieve that.

“Fishing is a way of life as well as an industry and the people of Scotland value the economic, social and cultural role the industry plays in Scottish life.

“A re-elected SNP Government will give our fishermen a strong voice in London and Brussels and fight tooth and nail to sail the industry into calmer waters.

“Many fisheries sectors have flourished under the SNP but others face very tough times given the absurd European regulations our fishermen face day in day out. The forthcoming negotiations over the future of EU fisheries policy must put the failed CFP behind us, end the scandal of discards, and adopt a new approach that allows member states and their fishing industries to have much more of a say on how to conserve stocks in their own waters and manage fishing opportunities.

“If re-elected on May 5th, the SNP pledges to continue working with our industry to deliver a sustainable and profitable fishing industry.”

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