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White-fish Vessels

Part of Question Time — Scottish Executive — Environment and Rural Development – in the Scottish Parliament at 2:00 pm on 18th November 2004.

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Photo of Ted Brocklebank Ted Brocklebank Conservative 2:00 pm, 18th November 2004

Does the minister accept the view of the Scottish White Fish Producers Association that only 120 vessels are prosecuting a mixed white fishery, which is approximately one third as many as there were five years ago? Does he stand by his claim earlier this week that he is not in the game of accepting further reductions in the current 17 days at sea a month in the forthcoming Brussels negotiations? Does he accept that 17 days is simply not enough if we are to keep the fleet even at its existing reduced size? Furthermore, does he accept that haddock and prawn stocks are in excellent heart and that the fishermen have proved to the scientists that they can avoid targeting threatened cod stocks? In that case, should he not be thumping the table at Brussels for more days at sea, rather than simply fighting to retain the status quo?