Thursday, 4 November 2010
Banff & Buchan MP Dr Eilidh Whiteford has raised the mackerel dispute with the UK Fisheries Minister in the House of Commons.
The SNP MP used the opportunity of Environment, Food & Rural Affairs Question Time to urge the UK Government to take a robust line in defence of our historic fishing rights.
Speaking in the House of Commons, Dr Whiteford said:
“I am sure that Ministers share my disappointment that last week’s talks aimed at resolving the mackerel dispute between Iceland, the Faroe Islands, Norway and the EU ended without resolution. The ongoing uncertainty is causing great distress to the pelagic fleet and parts of the processing sector in my constituency, where much of the industry is based. Those people have much to lose and little to gain in the negotiations.
“Will the Minister update the House on the outcome of those negotiations, and assure us that the Government will take a robust line in those talks to defend our historic fishing rights and to ensure that the EU does not acquiesce to the unreasonable and environmentally destructive demands being made by Iceland and the Faroes?"
UK Fisheries Minister Richard Benyon gave an assurance to the Banff & Buchan MP that both he and his department would take a firm line with the Icelandic and Faroese proposals.
Commenting afterwards, Dr Whiteford said:
“I am grateful to the Minister for his assurance. However, we need to keep pressing for strong action from the EU over the unilateral quotas set by Iceland and the Faroe Islands.
“Our fishing communities need strong action - and it's also what needs to be done to protect the health of our mackerel stocks. That's why we need a strong Scottish voice speaking-up for the historic rights of our coastal communities.”