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Last Updated:  Sunday, 23 February, 2003, 17:24 GMT
Euro MP warns over salmon jobs
It is claimed 6,000 jobs could be at risk
A Scottish MEP has said 6,000 jobs could be put at risk in the fish farming industry if European plans to scrap price controls go ahead.

Labour's Bill Miller claims the plans would allow Norwegian salmon producers to flood the Scottish market with cheap produce.

At present, price controls act as a bar to the Norwegians selling their salmon too cheaply in Europe.

However, Mr Miller said a "preliminary decision" to lift the duties had been taken by an EU anti-dumping committee.

Vulnerable communities

A final decision will be taken in late March or early April by the Commission and council of ministers.

Mr Miller said the estimate of up to 6,000 jobs at risk in vulnerable communities around the west coast of Scotland and Shetland had come from the industry itself.

He said: "The commission believes that there is no reason to continue the restrictions against the Norwegians," he said.

"The view from Scotland is that the EU's analysis about the future stability of the salmon market is deeply flawed.

"The European Commission says there is no problem with this decision, but we know that the impact on Scotland's home-grown industry will be devastating."

Bill Miller MEP
Bill Miller claims Norwegian producers could flood the market

Mr Miller claimed small independent producers could go out of business, at which point bigger firms would "stitch up the market" and prices would start to go up again.

"The big salmon producers in Scotland are all Norwegian," he said.

"With a glut of salmon coming on the market they will close their operations.

You will see salmon farming in Scotland and Ireland declining with a move north to Scotland."

Mr Miller said he had tabled a question to the commission in a bid to reverse the decision.

"We need a built-in review clause if we are to have a realistic chance of getting this decision overturned," he said.



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