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Last Updated: Friday, 15 October, 2004, 16:14 GMT 17:14 UK
Salmond in fishing policy demand
Alex Salmond
Alex Salmond said the CFP has failed Scotland
Nationalist leader Alex Salmond is to introduce a petition to the Commons calling for the UK to withdraw from the European Common Fisheries Policy.

The petition has been submitted by the Cod Crusaders, who live in Mr Salmond's Banff and Buchan constituency.

Mr Salmond also has a private member's bill which aims to take the UK out of the CFP.

He wants powers over fishing to be returned to politicians in the devolved parliaments and Westminster.

Mr Salmond said Scotland had suffered too many quota cuts and job losses under fishing policy decided in Brussels.

'Disastrous' policy

He has called for those powers to be given to the Northern Ireland Assembly, Scottish Parliament, Welsh Assembly and, in the case of English waters, the Westminster parliament.

Mr Salmond said: "The Common Fisheries Policy has been disastrous for Scotland's fishing communities, the Scottish economy and our maritime environment.

"It is imperative that we remove the dead hand of Brussels mismanagement as soon as possible.

"Fishing is worth 2bn to the Scottish economy and accounts for a large proportion of jobs in communities across Scotland. We cannot continue to let that crucial industry down."

The Scottish National Party leader said countries like Norway and the Faroe Islands have vibrant industries.

Way forward

But the Liberal Democrats claimed his withdrawal plan would not work and only a decentralisation of the existing set-up could offer a realistic solution.

Scottish MEP Elspeth Attwooll, a member of the EU's Committee on Fisheries, said: "I do not see how Mr Salmond can believe that we could withdraw from the CFP without adverse consequences for the industry in terms of fishing opportunities, fisheries markets and the proposed European Fisheries Fund.

"Even if we could do so, and without leaving the EU in the process, can he reassure me that this would not involve concessions having serious consequences for other industries?

"What is really needed, for the sake of the industry, is the further decentralisation of fisheries policy and the full involvement of stakeholders.

"That is the way forward in the real world."

Mr Salmond's Fisheries Jurisdiction Bill is due to receive its second reading and has received the support of MPs from every political group in the House of Commons, as well as industry organisations.

However, because of the parliamentary timetable it is unlikely to be debated on Friday.


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