LACK OF AMBITION MEANS FISH TALKS FLOP
13 June 2012
Scottish Greens are questioning Scottish Government claims of "success" at EU talks on fishing.
Ahead of the talks Green MSP Alison Johnstone warned that Scotland must make science the basis of decisions to tackle over-fishing and ban discards of healthy fish and vulnerable wildlife.
The talks have resulted in a provisional agreement with many loopholes. For example, a discard ban won't be introduced until 2015 and even then only gradually. And the sustainability of stocks will only be addressed "where possible" and in some cases only by 2020.
Scottish Fisheries Minister Richard Lochhead states he had an "ambitious timeframe" for a discards ban. Yet reports from the talks say an early ban was opposed by the Scottish delegation.
And a document prepared last autumn by Scottish Government agency Marine Scotland urges a phased ban over five years.
Alison Johnstone, Green MSP for Lothian, said:
"There is a clear public appetite for ending the shocking practice of discards and we must heed scientific advice to revive stocks and secure a future for our fisheries. The view of those who care about the sustainability of the sector is that these talks have been a flop rather than a success.
"We owe it to future generations to match ambitious words with action. Greens in Scotland and across Europe will continue to press the case."