MSP in cross-party group call

Stewart Stevenson during a recent visit to Peterhead Fishmarket.
Stewart Stevenson during a recent visit to Peterhead Fishmarket.

Banffshire and Buchan Coast MSP Stewart Stevenson has contacted Members of the Scottish Parliament to establish whether there would be support for a formal Cross-Party Group on the Fishing Industry.

Mr Stevenson said: “It is clear from my conversations with individual fishermen that there is concern about how the introduction of Marine Protected Areas is proceeding.

“To date many fishermen’s organisations have yet to brief MSPs on their preferred way forward while environmental interests are actively seeking to lobby parliamentarians.

“It may now be time to have a more effective forum for ensuring that Scottish Parliamentarians are better informed about issues that matter to the fishing industry.”

Cross Party Groups in the Scottish Parliament have to demonstrate the support of almost all political parties before they may be recognised as formal bodies. Groups have to have strong standards of openness and accountability before the Standards, Procedures and Public Appointments Committee will grant recognition.

He added: “If there is sufficient interest among colleagues in other political parties, we should be able to meet informally to plan for the establishment of this new group after the 2016 election.

“Fishing needs strong links to Parliament and we have been missing out on hearing the industry’s voice. It is not only about current issues, but also about ensuring that the fishing industry and communities who depend on fishing, have a forum where they can voice their concerns at the highest level.”