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Sheena Mackay reports
"They are seeking compensation for losses suffered."
 real 28k

Wednesday, 18 July, 2001, 13:41 GMT 14:41 UK
MPs call for 'cod war' payout
Cod box
Iceland and Britain locked horns over cod
An appeal has been made at Westminster on behalf of Scottish fishermen affected by the cod wars with Iceland.

MPs asked Trade and Industry Secretary Patricia Hewitt to intervene and speed up compensation for fishermen whose livelihoods were destroyed as a result of Iceland's fishing limits in the 1970s.

Aberdeen Labour MP Frank Doran said the meeting was "fruitful" and he was optimistic the system could now be speeded up.

Last year the government announced that fishermen could receive up to 20,000 if they proved they had suffered during the Icelandic dispute.

But the scheme was criticised for discriminating against genuine claimants.

Patricia Hewitt
Patricia Hewitt: Set to hear MPs' compensation concerns

Many fishing families in the north east of Scotland were affected by Britain's decision to agree a 200-mile fishing limit in Iceland.

The Icelandic authorities had decided to impose the limit to protect its highly prized cod stocks.

At the time the UK Government objected strongly and Royal Navy ships were sent to protect vessels from action by Icelandic forces.

But British ministers were eventually forced to accept a European Community ruling that certain fish limits were acceptable.

The ruling had a devastating effect on thousands of Scottish fishermen who had used the waters.

Trawler owners and some fishermen received compensation at the time, but part time and casual workers did not qualify for the package.

Backlog of claims

A further compensation scheme was deemed inadequate since it only offered payments to those who had worked for a company for two years or more.

Now, Aberdeen fishermen are still fighting for the compensation as a number of them have been refused payment under a fund announced last year.

A series of delays and caveats has thwarted such efforts and MPs asked Mrs Hewitt to speed up the process and award the fishermen the compensation they are entitled to.

Some skippers have died and their widows are continuing the bid to have the compensation payments made.

MPs asked Mrs Hewitt to adopt a more flexible attitude and call for more staff to be assigned to clear the backlog of claims.

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28 Jul 00 | Scotland
Payout for cod wars victims
20 Jul 00 | UK
Has cod had its chips?
20 Jul 00 | Sci/Tech
Fish and chips under threat
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