The once in a generation chance to radically reform the deeply flawed Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) must not be wasted by MEPs, Scotland's Fishing Minister Richard Lochhead said today.
Speaking at a breakfast seminar he was co-hosting with Struan Stevenson MEP at the European Parliament in Brussels today, September 26, the Minister pressed home Scotland CFP reform priorities, in particular Scotland's vision of how regionalisation has a key role to play in the hugely important issue of tackling discards.
Mr Lochhead said: "As European Parliament deliberations on CFP get underway, the future of our fishermen is very much in the hands of MEPs. It's absolutely crucial they don't waste the opportunity to fix what is currently so badly broken and support a radically reformed CFP that will provide a bright and sustainable future for our fishing fleet.
"Regionalisation is one example of a radical reform that must be delivered. It will enable regions to put workable, common sense management measures in place which are tailored to the particular characteristics of different fisheries, responding swiftly and effectively to each fishery's ever-changing dynamics. Only in this way can we tackle the key issues facing us such as ending discarding.
"This means a greater chance to involve the real experts, fishermen, in decision making - working with fisheries managers, scientists and NGOs. Which in turn will create a more local and inclusive model of management - building on the co-management approach we have already pioneered in Scotland - and bring management decisions into the ambit of those who feel disenfranchised by the current arrangements.
"Today was a great opportunity to outline this vision to the people who are now at the heart of the decision making. They hold a golden opportunity to make a huge different in their hands. An opportunity to visibly change the landscape of fishing for the better. I urge them, on behalf of Scotland's fishing community, to make the most of it."
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