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Last Updated: Monday, 25 September 2006, 18:48 GMT 19:48 UK
Fish plans 'will fail to deliver'
Fishermen
The body claims European catch quotas are ruining the industry
A leading fishing body has quit a Scottish Executive-backed working group claiming it was failing to protect fisherman from European catch cuts.

The Fisherman's Association Limited (FAL) announced the split ahead of the launch of the group's action plan.

It said the Sea Fisheries Advisory and Reference Group document ignored the impact of the Common Fisheries Policy.

However, the Scottish Executive said FAL were ignoring the realities about fish stocks and international law.

The European Commission has said a "long-term approach" is needed to manage declining fish stocks.

But FAL claims that boats are being forced into bankruptcy and out of the fleet by "a combination of totally inadequate but rigorously-policed quotas".

FAL secretary Roddy McColl said the action plan, to be launched by Fisheries Minister Ross Finnie on Tuesday, would not deliver its vision of a profitable, sustainable and well-managed industry.

"As long as the UK fishing industry is subject to the diktat of Brussels, its fishing industry, ancillary businesses and fishing communities will continue to suffer the consequences of a ruinous policy that has caused such misery for so many families and businesses," he said.

Industry loss

FAL said more than 1,000 boats have left the fleet in the 20 years since the UK joined the common market, with an annual loss of direct income to the catching sector of a minimum of 334m.

The organisation said the industry should call for repatriation of Scotland's sovereign waters and to restore national control and management over fisheries resources.

Conservative fisheries spokesman Ted Brocklebank MSP said the CFP had done more than anything to bring Scotland's fisheries sector "to its knees".

He said: "It is my concern that the main intention of the CFP is not conservation but consolidation - one centrally-controlled EU fleet operating across Europe. That would be totally unacceptable."

However, the executive insisted it was necessary "to be at the table within the CFP to improve and reform it."


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