The European Parliament agreed unanimously today that fishing nations should retain control of their coastal waters to a range of 12 miles.
The parliament’s fisheries committee were voting on a legislative report drafted by SNP MEP Ian Hudghton which sought to renew the current regime.
Mr Hudghton welcomed the decision as he said the danger was that when current regulations expired on 31st December it could potentially open up all coastal waters to vessels from around Europe.
The SNP president was nominated by the fisheries committee to steer emergency legislation through the parliament to prevent this from happening.
Mr Hudghton said: “Europe’s inshore waters are of huge importance to coastal communities and it is vital that these communities are protected.
“There has been a very real threat that these water would be opened up for a free-for-all, and I am grateful that MEPs from across Europe have voted to prevent this from happening.
“The European Commission have themselves acknowledged that national control of coastal waters has been one of the few successes of the current CFP regime. Lessons should be learned from this and, as negotiations for CFP reform continue, we should look at more ways to return control to the fishing nations.”
Mr Hudghton said the Scottish government had actively lobbied within the Council of Ministers for the 12-mile zones to be retained and he had been able to work in parallel with them in the parliament.
He added: “The overwhelming support for my report from parliamentary colleagues shows that there is real support for decision-making powers being made close to home.”