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Last Updated: Thursday, 21 October, 2004, 18:20 GMT 19:20 UK
Fish talks boycott over EU rules
Fishermen in the North Sea are facing strict quotas
A fishermen's group has boycotted a major conference on the future of the Scottish industry which took place in Aberdeen on Thursday.

Delegates discussed the various ways of ensuring a viable future for the Scottish industry within the EU Common Fisheries Policy (CFP).

But the Fishermen's Association said there was no future for the industry within the CFP framework.

It blames bureaucracy for damaging the Scottish sector.

The conference was organised by the Greenwich Forum group of marine scientists.

What the figures cannot reveal is the amount of personal tragedy and communal disruption that lie behind them
Roddy McColl
The Fishermen's Association
The Fishermen's Association claims the CFP has led to European countries having access to Scottish waters and consequently a reduction of 60% in the Scottish fishing fleet since joining.

It believes there is a current annual loss, taking into account processing and marketing, to the Scottish economy of 785m due to the CFP.

Roddy McColl, secretary for the association, said: "These appalling figures represent nothing less than a national disaster - brought about for no better reason than the ideology of 'sharing the common resource' with other EU member countries.

Cod ban

"What the figures cannot reveal is the amount of personal tragedy and communal disruption that lie behind them - bankruptcies, the uprooting of individuals and families, the destruction of thriving communities with centuries-old cultural traditions and communal lives.

Tory MP Owen Paterson, shadow secretary for environment, attended the conference after being invited, but was angry he was not allowed to speak against the CFP.

Mr Paterson said: "The CFP is biologically, environmentally and economically a total catastrophe. There is no future in the CFP.

What we need are national and local controls of the fisheries
Owen Paterson
Shadow secretary for environment
"I have visited the Faroe Island, Iceland and New England and many other places and there is a very promising future for people not in the CFP.

"There are very clear lessons to be learned from them. They work with the fishermen.

"What we need are national and local controls of the fisheries. In these places it has provided jobs and it has been very prosperous and sustainable."

Fishing is still a key part of the Scottish economy with eight of the top 12 landing ports in the UK, according to weight and value, in Scotland.

Delegates also discussed this week's report by marine scientists that once again recommended a ban on cod fishing around Scotland.

Experts from the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (Ices) warned that cod was at historically low levels and should not be exploited.


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