Page last updated at 11:03 GMT, Thursday, 22 September 2011 12:03 UK

Scottish govenment's Common Fisheries Policy debate

Rural Affairs and the Environment Secretary Richard Lochhead told MSPs transferable fishing concessions could 'spell doom' for Scotland's fishing industry in a debate on the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) on 22 September 2011.

Earlier this year, the European Commission unveiled major plans to reform the EU's fishing industry and stop catches being wasted.

Under the proposals, large fleets would be allocated transferable catch shares, called "concessions", which they would be able to trade, in response to local conditions. Discards would therefore be phased out.

Mr Lochhead said: "Innovation is the hallmark of fisheries management in Scotland" and called on the EU to learn from Scotland's experience, where he said fleets have already been reduced.

He said he intends to ask the UK government for a greater role in CFP negotiations because he said Scotland has much more to lose than the UK.

The rural affairs and environment secretary added: "If Europe blows this golden opportunity to sail our fishing industry into calmer waters the consequences would be dire".

Scottish Labour MSP Elaine Murray advised the Cabinet Secretary the Scottish government will have to work with the UK government in Scotland's interest.

She said: "This industry is far too important to be used as a stepping stone to independence".

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