Next week, Cabinet Secretary Richard Lochhead will travel to Luxembourg to the Council of Ministers’ Fisheries Council meeting.
The purpose of the meeting is to negotiate the council agreement on the reformed Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) that will be presented to the European Parliament.
Yesterday (Thursday 7th June), Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch SNP MSP Dave Thompson spoke in the Scottish Parliament Debate on the CFP, opened and closed by Highlands and Islands MSP, Jamie McGrigor, whose speech we published yesterday.
There is general concern about the CFP and about its reform. Will the EC deliver all that is necessary in the reform of this blinkered but imposed policy?
Speaking in the debate, Dave Thompson said: ‘In my constituency, fishing is – and has been for decades, if not centuries – the lifeblood of many west coast communities in Skye and Lochaber and of places such as Avoch, which is on the east coast and also within my constituency.
‘In 2011, the value of fish that was landed by Scottish vessels was a grand £500 million. Fishing is vital to small communities and to our country.
‘Our Fisheries are disadvantaged because they are subordinate to a failing CFP that is decided in Brussels. We must get decentralisation and move away from the micromanagement that currently occurs from Brussels.
‘Without this move, we will never solve the problems of discards and the other problems that the current CFP has caused for our fishermen over recent years.
‘I believe that our local communities deserve a louder voice on fisheries policy. It is they who know best the hardships and struggles of fishing in Scottish waters and how to manage the fish.
‘As a Lossie Loon, I am all too aware of the detrimental effect of the CFP as Lossie harbour now holds only yachts where once there were dozens of productive fishing boats. I do not want to see this happen to the fishing communities in the Black Isle, Skye, Lochalsh and Lochaber.
‘I hope that next week’s meeting will be a productive one; that progress will be made that will benefit the Scottish Fishing Industry; and that the CFP reforms will include decentralisation and more localised decision making.’