Nanette Milne

28 Nov 2008 15:22:11

Conservative MSPs defend fishermen

Nanette_milne_3Jamie_mcgrigor_2Shortly after the House of Commons did the same, the Scottish Parliament has debated fisheries. Conservative MSPs made useful contributions.

Member for the Highlands and Islands Sir Jamie McGrigor made an excellent speech. He bemoaned the impact of fuel prices and discards on the industry:

"I am grateful for the chance to speak once again in a fisheries debate. However, rather than speak about fish, I wish to speak about the people who fish for them and the people on the mainland whose jobs depend on the industry: we should never forget that for every job at sea there are four on land. Fishing is one of Scotland's most important primary industries, so it is absurd that the Scottish fishing fleet, which has done more for conservation measures than any other fleet in Europe, has continually to bear more pain than any other fleet in the EU.

I am well aware of the impact that the meteoric rise in fuel prices—which doubled between 2007 and 2008 from 30p to 60p a litre for marine diesel—had on the fishing industry, particularly on smaller vessels, many of which simply had to stop fishing. Fuel prices have since reduced, but we must ensure that our Government is better prepared should that happen again, especially as fishermen from other member states received direct help with their fuel costs through de minimis aid payments, which also put our fishing people at a competitive disadvantage.

Others have mentioned the appalling waste and the damage to the marine environment that are caused by discards. Can anyone member justify throwing dead fish back into the sea? It makes a mockery of the CFP."


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