MEP to get first hand experience in fishing industry

21 July 2005
Scottish National Party MEP Alyn Smith is to join Mallaig fishermen Robert Summers for two day's of work experience at sea on his boat Ocean Trust.

Mr Smith volunteered to work on a fishing boat as part of a series of work experience days he is taking part in across the country. The fishing trip is the highlight of the two week tour and Mr Smith believes it makes him the only serving Scots MEP to get first hand experience of the industry.

Mr Smith has volunteered for work experience arranged by the Mallaig and Northwest Fisherman's Association. He believes that spending time actually working in the industry will show him how European legislation and quotas on fishing and the environment actually affect day to day business.

Speaking from Brussels Mr Smith said

"I've been an MEP for just over a year and fishing remains one of the big European issues for Scotland. It is not just about annual quota negotiations, the industry is one of the Scots industries with strong connections to the European institutions, and has to handle both fisheries and environmental issues. The recent issue over upgrading motors to reduce pollution is just one of many factors affecting the industry. I see this as a chance to really engage with people in the fishing community and hear their concerns.

"This is certainly a change from Parliamentary debates and committee meetings. I think there's a good chance I'm the only serving Scots MEP to have done anything like this and hopefully this will be not just be of benefit to me, but will produce some real benefits for those who have generously agreed to put up with me and have the patience to teach me some tricks of their trade. So long as I find my sea legs and take some sea sickness tablets I think it should be fine."

"So far I've been out with the police, on a farm, a film set, in a distillery and trip is the working with the Blood Transfusion Service. It's proving to be a fantastic and worthwhile experience and I'm sure this fishing trip will easily prove to be just as rewarding."

Note to Editors

Alyn will join Skipper Robert Summers on Ocean Trust, departing Sunday 24th and returning on Tuesday 26th July.

Please note changes to Skipper, boat and earlier departure Mr Smith will be available for interview prior to and following the trip.

Mr Smith's work experience begins on the 18th July and ends on the 28th.