>> 13 January 2009

Banff & Buchan MSP Stewart Stevenson and SNP candidate Eilidh Whiteford have welcomed the news that the Scottish Government has successfully persuaded the Russian Federation to lift restrictions on Scottish fish being exported to Russia that had been in place since April 2008. The Russian market is a vital one to the fishing industry, with 48,000 tonnes of pelagic fish worth over £42 million having been exported there in 2007.

Commenting, Mr Stevenson said:

"The reopening of this critical trading link can only be good news for fish processors in Banff & Buchan that for months had been denied access to this market.

"That these restrictions have only been lifted north of the border is testament to the hard work of the Scottish Government in negotiations with Russia over the issue, and is a much needed boost to Banff & Buchan's fishing industry."

SNP Westminster candidate for Banff & Buchan Eilidh Whiteford commented:

"The easing of these restrictions shows what can be achieved when Scotland speaks with its own voice in the world. Had this been left to the UK Government to resolve, who knows how long the fishing industry in Banff & Buchan would have had to suffer waiting for trade to resume?"

Peterhead South & Cruden councillor Stephen Smith, who is a member of Aberdeenshire Council's Fisheries Working Group added:

"This has been a matter of concern to members of the Working Group for some time and I have been encouraging the council to lobby the Russian authorities. This was a course of action the council felt disinclined to take so I'm very grateful indeed to the SNP Scottish Government for its efforts in this regard which has restored a vital market to North-east fish processors."

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