Anger as fisheries remain with EU

MPs have voted against a move to take control of fisheries away from the EU.

The Scottish National Party was pressing for an amendment to restore responsibility for fisheries and marine conservation.

The call to return fisheries to national control was rejected by 285 to 175 at Westminster on Tuesday night.

Moray MP Angus Robertson said fishing communities would be “outraged” but rivals claimed the SNP was using fishing as a political tool.

Mr Robertson, an SNP MSP, accused Labour of failing to stand up for one of the country’s “oldest and greatest industries”.

‘Supporting industry’

Mr Robertson said countries such as Norway and Iceland managed their own fisheries very effectively outside EU control.

Foreign Office Europe Minister Jim Murphy acknowledged there was a need for improvement, but said the Lisbon Treaty that had been debated gave greater clarity on what the EU could and could not do.

Mike Rumbles MSP, the Liberal Democrat environment spokesman, said: “The EU Treaty proposed no changes to competence over fisheries. Marine conservation has always been an exclusive competence of the European Union.

“The SNP must stop using fishing as a political tool. Ministers should be getting on with the job of supporting and growing the industry.”