Call for ‘common sense’ on Euro fisheries policy

Fishing leaders across Europe are being urged to embrace radical change to the “disastrous” rules governing fleets across the continent.

Scottish politicians called for a fundamental shift back to regional decision-making days, before ministers meet in Luxembourg to agree changes to the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP).

Fisheries secretary Richard Lochhead said: “Europe has the chance to inject some long-awaited and long-overdue commonsense into what has up to now been a disastrous fishing policy. A policy that has left much pain and economic dislocation in its wake, destroyed proud communities and undermined fisheries conservation in Scottish and European waters.”

Fishing leaders back the drive, describing effective regional management as a key area for change.

Ministers are due to begin discussion on reforms next Tuesday.

Mr Lochhead also wants progress on more environmentally friendly fishing including the end of discards, the controversial practice of throwing away fish to meet strict quota rules.

He argued against Transferable Fishing Concessions which he said could see the transfer of quotas from Scottish fishermen and lead to the “slow and painful decline” of traditional fishing communities.

Leading a Scottish Parliament debate, he said: “Here in Scotland we have squeezed every opportunity out of what little flexibility we have within what is an over-centralised and micro-managed regime.

“Rather than concocting detailed restrictions in the dead of a Brussels night, we, with our fishermen and other stakeholders, have jointly agreed common objectives. We have allowed those with the expertise and the experience to lead the development of solutions.”