Friday, 5 September 2014

Salmond - Fishing Will be National Priority Following Independence


At a meeting held in the Auction Hall of Peterhead Fish Market today, [Friday], First Minister Alex Salmond told fishermen that fishing will be a national priority in an independent Scotland and that a YES vote will mean that never again will fishing be considered “expendable” as Westminster infamously considered it.

Mr Salmond also set out five key Fishing Gains which come with a YES vote. These are:

  • Fishing will be a national priority
  • Direct representation in the EU and ability to negotiate our priorities without compromise
  • Protection of Scotland’s fishing quotas
  • Fairer share of EU Fisheries budget
  • Ensure Scotland’s fishing levies promote Scottish seafood

Speaking at the event Mr Salmond said:

“Scotland is one of the wealthiest countries in the world, with more wealth per head than Japan, France and the UK itself. Our fishing industry is an important part of that contributing £550 million to the Scottish economy every year and also helping to underpin our thriving food and drink industry which has a turnover of almost £14 billion.

“A Yes vote is a huge opportunity for Scotland’s fishing industry. It means that never again will it be considered “expendable” – as Westminster described it. Scotland’s fishing and seafood sectors are great industries and play an important part in our economic success. As such they are many times more important to Scotland than to the UK as a whole, and for that reason they will be a much greater priority in an independent Scotland – indeed they will be a national priority.

“Only with independence will Scotland’s fishing industry benefit from greater influence, better representation, a fairer deal in funding, and quota protection. Freed from the existing Westminster control, where it is not a national priority, fishing is a sector which will flourish.

“With independence, quota - which is the lifeblood of the fishing industry - will be protected. A vote for independence will mean that we can protect our fishing sector and our rich heritage as an eminent fishing nation for this and future generations by stopping our quota being sold outside Scotland. Indeed without independence there is no way of guaranteeing quota will not be sold outwith Scotland.

“Scotland is already one of the EU’s leading fishing nations as our waters account for at least 20 per cent of the European Union’s catch and it is the fourth largest of the EU's core sea areas. We are already at the centre of Europe’s complex fisheries management arrangements and independence will bring greater influence on the decision making process.

“As an independent Member State we will have a greater influence on the issues that matter most to us. It will bring an end to the ludicrous situation where the landlocked countries of Europe, such as Slovakia, Austria and Luxembourg, can speak on EU fisheries policy, while Scotland currently cannot. And it will end the situation where time and again Scotland’s Fishing Minister is forced to sit in silence while other nations of Scotland’s size - and smaller – make their case and secure key concessions for their fishing industries.

“Independence will give us the voice we need to negotiate a fairer share of European fisheries budgets to help our fishermen and the wider industry. Unlike the UK Government which has sought to reduce the size of these funds – and whose negotiation tactics have left Scotland third bottom of the European fisheries funding league tables - we will fight for a fair deal where the funding Scotland receives is relative to the size of the industry we have.”
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