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EDITIONS
 Friday, 24 January, 2003, 13:52 GMT
Fishermen to form political party
Fishing vigil
There are fears for thousands of jobs
Scottish fishing industry leaders are to set up a political party to represent their interests amid fears over huge quota cuts.

The Scottish White Fish Producers' Association (SWFPA) said that existing political parties do little to represent the fishing industry's interests.

At a meeting in Banff on Friday it agreed to set up a Fishermen's Party and put up candidates in the Holyrood elections in May.

Its leaders said they were furious that politicians in Edinburgh and London have failed to stop big catch cuts.

Fishermen's protest
Fishermen say they have been let down

They have vowed to continue to oppose plans to cut white fish fleets' quotas by a half and restrict trawlers to fishing for no more than 15 days a month.

The new regulations have been scheduled to come into effect on 1 February and have led to fears for more than 30,000 jobs in Scotland.

Dr George Geddes, vice chairman of the SWFPA, said: "It may well be time to put people into the parliament that will actually deal with these issues.

"There has got to be a stand against this because this parliament is letting us down badly in all areas.

"When this parliament was set up, I honestly believed it was going to be a positive thing for Scotland.

Fishing strongholds

"But the fishing industry has been let down tremendously badly by this parliament and the people in the Scottish Parliament, I honestly believe, lack the knowledge about the fishing industry."

Dr Geddes said candidates were likely to be fielded in fishing strongholds such as the north east of Scotland, the Western Isles and Orkney and Shetland.

He said the aim was to have "somebody in each constituency, if we could" and it is possible a fishermen's party could secure up to three list MSPs under the proportional representation system.


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23 Jan 03 | Scotland
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