New EU Fishing Commissioner must hit ground running
Wednesday, 10 September, 2014
Ian Duncan MEP has responded to the news that Malta’s Commissioner-designate, Karmenu Vella, has been allocated the Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries portfolio by the President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker. Mr Vella will take up office subject to European Parliament approval on November 1st.
This is not the first time that Malta has held the Commission’s Fisheries portfolio and Mr Duncan will urge Mr Vella to make a visit to Scotland one of his key priorities. Mr Duncan will also be seeking an early meeting with Mr Vella to ensure that he is fully aware of the issues facing Scottish fishermen and fish processors.
‘The industry has been hit in recent weeks by the Russian import ban, and fishermen are currently concerned about the landings obligations that form part of the upcoming discard ban. These are matters that I will be raising with Commissioner-elect Vella.
'Further, fishermen need to know that the Commissioner is part of the solution and not part of the problem. The best way to achieve this is for the Commissioner to sit down those who make their living from the sea, hear first-hand their problems and concerns, and seek to establish a strong collaborative approach to finding common solutions. I will therefore be calling on Mr Vella to make a visit to Scotland one of his early priorities.’
'My experience of working with fishermen is that they are the people who know their industry best. I hope that Mr Vella agrees and recognises that we cannot continue to take a ‘one size fits all’ approach.
'The future health of the industry depends upon letting fishermen do what they do best: fish.'
Ian Duncan is the Conservative MEP for Scotland and was formerly the Deputy Chief-Executive of the Scottish Fishermen's Federation.
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