November 4, 2003



Alliance Formed to Unite Scotland's Fishing Industry

A new umbrella organisation, aimed at uniting every sector of Scotland's crisis-torn fishing industry, will be officially launched in Edinburgh tomorrow.

The Cod Crusaders, Carol MacDonald, formed the United Fishing Industry Alliance, and Morag Ritchie, the wives of two Fraserburgh fishermen who formed their action group a year ago to fight for justice for Scotland's fishing communities.

The new alliance, which is the first industry-wide organisation formed in Scotland's fishing industry, will comprise representatives of the catching and processing sectors, as well as representatives of a wide range of shore-based businesses affected by the cod catching crisis.

The main aim of the new organisation will be to campaign for Britain to regain control of its traditional fishing grounds and to secure a sustainable future for the industry.

Mrs MacDonald said yesterday that she had been heartened by the positive response to the formation of the alliance from the various sectors involved.

She said, "Everyone is now singing from the same hymn-sheet and are united in calling for the industry to win back control of its own waters. And what we need is a single, unified organisation to take that campaign forward."

Mrs MacDonald said that while organisations such as the Scottish Fishermen's Federation and the Scottish Seafood Processors' Federation had an enviable track record of representing the interests of their members, there were many sectors of the industry which had no voice.

Meanwhile, the independent committee of leading academics, set up by the Royal Society of Edinburgh to examine the issues underlying the current fishing crisis, revealed yesterday that its final report will not be published before next month's crucial meeting of the European fisheries council in Brussels, where decisions will be taken about the catch restrictions for next year.

But Sir David Smith, the distinguished biologist who is chairing the inquiry, differs to think that the delay in publishing the committee's report and recommendations result in its investigation meaningless.

He said: "We feel that taking into account what the council of ministers may decide will be helpful."