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Eilidh Whiteford, MP for Banff & Buchan

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SNP BACKS INTERNATIONAL EFFORTS TO SAVE TRADITIONAL FISHING RIGHTS

Tuesday, 9 March 2010

ALLIES IN, COPENHAGEN, BERLIN, TALINN - BUT NOT LONDON
WHITEFORD DEFENDS HISTORIC FISHING RIGHTS AGAINST TORY PLAN

SNP President Ian Hudghton MEP has today (Tuesday) welcomed support from various European governments for the principle of EU nations retaining historical fishing rights according to traditional practices.

The governments of Germany, Denmark and Estonia have all given backing to the principle of "relative stability" whereby fishing opportunities are allocated to states according to historical catches. Additionally, from outwith the EU the Norwegian government has backed the principle.

The international support is in contrast to the position of both the UK Government and the Tory Party who have in recent weeks called for the scrapping of historical rights, which has been strongly criticised by local SNP Westminster candidate for Banff & Buchan Eilidh Whiteford.

Ian Hudghton commented:

"The SNP believes that powers over fisheries should be returned to Europe's fishing nations. Coastal communities around Europe have depended on their traditional fishing waters for generations - and those historical benefits must be retained.

"Fortunately the Scottish government are not alone in seeking to protect the principle of relative stability. Whilst both Labour and the Tories are preparing to sell Scotland's fishermen out once again, an alliance of northern nations is emerging intent on protecting their fishing heritage.

"The SNP have long been the champions of Scotland's fishing communities. As the process of European fisheries reform gets under way, the SNP are pledged to defend Scotland's historical fishing rights in Holyrood, Westminster and Brussels."

SNP Westminster candidate for Banff & Buchan Eilidh Whiteford added:

"The next couple of years are going to be vital for the Scottish fishing industry. The reform of European fisheries policy offers us an opportunity to bring powers back to where they belong - with the individual fishing nations.

"It's important that Scotland has allies in other European countries who are as determined to protect each nation's historical rights. Both the Tories and Labour have indicated that they want an abolition of relative stability - but the SNP fully intends to fight for our coastal communities.

"Scotland needs champions who are prepared to stand up for our fishing industry. Strong SNP voices will ensure that Scotland's voice is heard - and our traditional rights are safeguarded."

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