SNP MEP and Party President Ian Hudghton has called on the EU to avoid red tape and centralisation which would be damaging for Scotland's aquaculture production as plans were discussed in Strasbourg for an EU Aquaculture Strategy.
MEPs were debating a report from the European Parliament's Fisheries Committee of which Mr Hudghton is a member. The Scots MEP highlighted the importance of aquaculture in Scotland supporting fragile island and rural communities.
Mr Hudghton urged MEPs to learn from the failure of the Common Fisheries Policy and avoid centralising management of aquaculture policy at EU level.
Speaking in the debate at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, Ian Hudghton said:
"Scotland is rightly well known as a producer of large quantities of farmed Atlantic Salmon. We also produce species of trout, as well as halibut and some arctic charr. Quality shellfish, such as oysters and scallops, is also farmed in large quantities in Scotland.
"Scotland succeeds at high quality aquaculture production because our natural environment, our clean waters, are well suited to fish and shellfish farming. It is self evident that that environment must be protected.
"Aquaculture in Scotland supports fragile island and rural communities with substantial numbers of jobs in the processing sector. If we are to develop a new EU strategy for aquaculture we should focus on simplification and streamlining of regulation. I agree with the Rapporteur on that.
"What we must not do is centralise management and control at EU level. Let us learn from the failure of the CFP in that regard. Scotland has its own Strategic Framework for Aquaculture which should be supported by the European Union as and where appropriate."