>> 21 August 2008

Fraserburgh & District SNP councillor Brian Topping has responded to the Scottish Government's consultation on the future of fishing quota management and licensing.

Councillor Topping, who is also a Fraserburgh Harbour Commissioner, welcomed the consultation and proposals which were launched by Fisheries Secretary Richard Lochhead earlier this year.

Commenting, Councillor Topping said:

"As a councillor representing one of Scotland's premier fishing ports, I am pleased to see the prominence given in the consultation to the idea that fishermen should be placed at the heart of quota management.

"It is my belief that fisheries are best managed by those closest to them, since it is they who have the greatest incentive to avoid inappropriate or excessive catches. Self-regulation is usually preferable to distant regulation and in the case of fishing, this is certainly the case.

"I'm also encouraged to see that following years where exit from the industry has been more common than entry, that a 'New Entrants Scheme' is now being proposed. While clearly there is much which needs to be clarified on how such a scheme might operate, not least in terms of how quota might be allocated, the principle is itself a sound one, which I believe will be embraced by the wider fishing community."

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