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Press release

Anger as European Parliament votes for new fishing armada

Press Release from Ian Hughton MEP

SNP President Ian Hudghton MEP has expressed extreme disappointment after a committee of the European Parliament voted in favour of taxpayers' money being used to construct new fishing vessels.

The vote was on proposed legislation for a European Maritime and Fisheries Fund which will come into effect as part of a reformed Common Fisheries Policy.  A coalition of French and Spanish MEPs had been pushing for subsidies for boat building to be reintroduced.

In the past decade the Scottish fleet has gone through significant reductions.  At the same time, Scottish fishermen have actively worked with scientists and environmentalists in efforts to reduce overfishing.

Mr Hudghton commented:

"The Scottish fleet has worked hard in recent years to secure a sustainable future for the industry and this work is showing results in terms of increasing fish stocks.  These efforts will however count for nothing if other countries are allowed to embark on a massive boatbuilding programme.

"EU funding is important for the fishing industry and has been used in Scotland to improve storage on board, maximise energy efficiency and modernise port facilities.  These investments are of value to our coastal communities and must be allowed to continue.

"Negotiations on the new fisheries fund are still ongoing in Brussels - and it is therefore imperative that efforts are made to reverse the European Parliament's shameful decision".

Notes for editors

*       The vote in the Fisheries Committee was on the proposed European Maritime and Fisheries Fund.
*       The text adopted allows for the "construction of new fishing vessels" - something which was expressly prohibited under the original proposal.
*       The proposed legislation will now proceed to a full plenary session of the parliament where the committee decision can be overturned.

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