Hudghton (Greens/EFA) - Mr President, the European Union has 68 000 kilometres of coastline; Scotland has 11 000 kilometres. Almost 50% of the EU population live within 50 kilometres of the sea; in Scotland 70% live within 10 kilometres of the sea. Clearly it is in Scotland’s long-term interests to protect the marine environment and to conserve its wealth of marine resources for the long term.

Scotland has oil and gas reserves for at least another 30 years. I will be supporting various amendments that will ensure that oil and gas extraction can continue to benefit the Scottish and EU economies. I cannot support committee Amendment 8 in the Lienemann report, as drafted, because it seeks to link the marine strategy to ‘the principles of the common fisheries policy’. The CFP has been a miserable failure and the last thing I want to see is a new marine strategy linked to such a flawed set of principles. The idea that Member States should determine what good environmental status is in waters under their jurisdiction, and work with their neighbours in logical marine regions makes a lot of sense. Fisheries management should be brought into that common sense situation, and jurisdiction should be returned to the Member States so that, for example, countries around the North Sea can work together with those who have most to gain from conservation being encouraged, giving the incentive to make a marine strategy succeed.

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