Hudghton (Greens/EFA), on behalf of the Greens/EFA Group - Mr President, I should like to thank the rapporteur, Mr Ó Neachtain, for his initiative in highlighting the special needs and the economic and social importance of the inshore fishing sector. It is a vitally important network of mostly small, mostly family run businesses, which are the lifeblood of most of our small coastal communities.
Around the coast and the many islands of Scotland, it is a sector that is of the utmost importance and it undoubtedly has not benefited from the political support it deserves. Unfortunately, though, Scotland's offshore fishing industry has not had a happy experience as a result of the common fisheries policy. So there is not a great demand – to put it mildly – for new EU legislation specific to inshore fisheries. However, support for initiatives in, for example, the fields of vessel safety, fuel economy, training and investment funding is worth pursuing at local and EU level, through the European Fisheries Fund. In Scotland it is not just the CFP that has been bad for our fishing communities. Over the years, the Scottish and UK Governments too have failed to support EU initiatives by co-financing. I hope that if, as a result of this report, we move towards some specific new programmes to assist coastal fishing, the Scottish Government will be persuaded to provide the necessary support. Our small coastal communities have a very long history, with generations of families making a living from fishing. I would like to see those communities returned to a state where the young and the future generations have some hope of being able to follow in that tradition.