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Eilidh Whiteford, MP for Banff & Buchan

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Whiteford Says UK Government Failing NE Fishermen

Monday, 24 June 2013

The UK Government has been accused of failing to address problems facing fishermen in the North-east and across Scotland. Following a statement on the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) by Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Richard Benyon, SNP MP for Banff & Buchan Eilidh Whiteford says there are other challenges facing Scots fishermen than the CFP and the UK Government is failing to act.

The local MP also says that while Scottish Fisheries Secretary and Moray MSP Richard Lochhead treats fishing as an industry of critical importance in European talks the ultimate say still lies with UK Ministers who continue to use fishing as a bargaining chip.

Commenting, Eilidh Whiteford said:

“Whilst the agreement in Brussels is welcome, the fishing industry still faces problems such as the cost of quota and fuel and the market conditions have continued to be poor in recent months.

“Fishing related industry is one of the mainstays of the economy of the North-east and if the UK Government backed the Scottish Government’s position on fisheries in its European negotiations they could get our coastal communities a far better deal and help ensure a positive future for the sector.

“The UK Minister, Mr Benyon, instead decided to attack independence for Scotland, claiming there was only a deal due to being part of the UK, despite the UK selling Scots fishermen down the river for 30 years. It was also an act of sheer hypocrisy given that he represents a party most of whom want to take the UK out of the EU.

“Ignoring the issues is an unacceptable position from the UK Government and there is a continuous failure by successive UK Governments to recognise the economic importance of fishing to Scotland. Too often fishing continues to be a bargaining chip to the detriment of our fishermen and fishing communities.

“Ireland is just about to conclude its term of the EU Presidency proving the importance of small nations within the EU. With independence, Scotland would have its own seat at the top table, reflecting the importance of fishing to Scotland and building alliances with member states in the interests of a true, regionally based sustainable fishery.”

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