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October 22, 2003 12:00 AM

The Scottish Fishermen's Federation's 'spatial management' approach to cod recovery, launched today, has been described by Scottish Liberal Democrat MEP Elspeth Attwooll as making an important contribution to the ongoing debate about the management of Scottish fisheries.

Commenting from Strasbourg where the European Parliament will vote tomorrow on the Commission's long term cod recovery measures, she said:

"The SFF's more localised management approach is along the lines of that being proposed by the European Parliament. We agree that measures aiming at the recovery of cod need to be more targeted at areas of the sea where cod is at particularly low levels rather than taking a blanket approach to the whole of the North Sea.

"I believe, however, that we cannot avoid the use of more general effort limitation measures until such time as a fully developed 'spatial management' scheme has been agreed.

"I was very glad to read that the SFF foresees a strong role for the proposed new Regional Advisory Councils. Again, this is something that the Parliament will push in its vote tomorrow and is timely given the Commission's adoption on Monday of a proposal setting out a common framework for RACs."

She explained:

"The Commission propose that a RAC, of which two thirds would be made up of representatives of the fishing sector, be established to cover the whole of the North Sea but they also provide for the possibility that the RACs themselves will be able to set up sub-divisions to cover specific fisheries. In this way, I very much hope that real 'spatial management' may soon see the light of day."