Fisheries (Scotland)

Oral Answers to Questions — Environment, Food and Rural Affairs – in the House of Commons at 11:30 am on 22nd April 2004.

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Photo of Michael Weir Michael Weir Shadow Spokesperson (Trade and Industry), Shadow Spokesperson (Environment, Food and Rural Affairs), Shadow Spokesperson (Health) 11:30 am, 22nd April 2004

What recent discussions she has had with Scottish fishermen's organisations regarding the effect on the Scottish fishing industry of the European fishing agreement.

Photo of Ben Bradshaw Ben Bradshaw Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) (Local Environment, Marine and Animal Welfare)

I have regular meetings with members of the Scottish fishing industry and met them recently in Edinburgh at the launch of the Prime Minister's strategy unit report on the future of the fishing industry. I also recently received a delegation that included the hon. Gentleman, at which time he raised a number of issues relevant to the fishing industry in Scotland that I hope have been resolved to his satisfaction.

Photo of Michael Weir Michael Weir Shadow Spokesperson (Trade and Industry), Shadow Spokesperson (Environment, Food and Rural Affairs), Shadow Spokesperson (Health)

I thank the Minister for his answer. Certainly, some of the issues have been resolved. The changes in the map are welcome, although the draconian new enforcement measures are perhaps not quite so welcome. Issues regarding days at sea have yet to be resolved. The Minister will recall that, in European Standing Committee A, he indicated that he was still discussing that issue with Europe. Does he share the view of Ross Finnie, the Scottish fishing Minister, who said on his return to work yesterday that he was horribly disappointed at the time Europe was taking to deal with the issue? Can the Under-Secretary give us an idea of when these matters will be dealt with?

Photo of Ben Bradshaw Ben Bradshaw Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) (Local Environment, Marine and Animal Welfare)

We will certainly make the representations that the hon. Gentleman would like us to make in regard to those fishermen with haddock permits spending more time at sea. The wheels of the Commission sometimes do not move as fast as we would like, but we will certainly try to make them move as quickly as they can.