To ask the Scottish Executive whether it has plans to introduce a distinct scheme to promote safety improvements in the Scottish fleet in view of the termination of the Fishing Vessel (Safety Improvements) (Grants) Scheme 1995 (S.I.1995/1609), and given the special circumstances of the Scottish fishing industry. (S1O-66)
We recognise the critical importance of safety issues for the Scottish fishing fleet. Revised European legislation under the financial instrument for fisheries guidance, which is under discussion, will include consultation with industry. We will examine the case for a separate Scottish scheme in the light of developments in the UK and of new European legislation.
Does the minister agree that it is ludicrous and incredibly unacceptable that the safety of our fishermen depends upon property deals in London? The Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food failed to sell Covent Garden, so the deficit that was left led to the current fisheries grant scheme drying up.
We should focus on our own responsibilities in this Parliament. Mr Lochhead will understand that maritime safety is a reserved responsibility.
The Deputy Prime Minister, John Prescott, who has overall responsibility in this area, announced that a fishing vessel safety scheme is to be reinstated. We are awaiting further details and will take a special interest in the implications of any