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Scottish government must promote locally caught fish

March 12, 2013 4:45 PM
Originally published by Scottish Liberal Democrats

Scottish Liberal Democrat rural affairs spokesperson Tavish Scott MSPTavish ScottTavish Scott has pressed SNP ministers to vigorously promote locally caught Scottish fish during a Scottish Government debate on food policy this afternoon.

This comes as a poster for Seafish - the government quango responsible for the promotion of fish as a part of a healthy diet - was found to be advertising fish from Iceland and the Barents Sea.

Mr Scott repeated his calls for the Scottish Government to reform public sector food purchasing so that it places greater importance on sourcing local quality produce. This would mean that bodies such as Scotland Excel, which source food for local authority schools and hospitals across the country, would have to tender contracts to local fisherman and farmers.

Commenting after the debate, Mr Scott said:

"Many fishermen would be in utter disbelief if they knew that a government quango based in Edinburgh was helping to sell Icelandic fish into our markets. This only rubs salt in the wounds of Scottish industry who already have to stand by and watch Iceland flout international law to illegally catch mackerel.

"After discovering traces of horsemeat in our beef and Icelandic fish in our weekly chippy SNP ministers must put Scottish produce on the table. That's why I've been urging the Scottish Government to reform public sector food procurement. Greater importance has to be placed on the quality of our food and the benefit to our communities rather than simply on cost alone.

"This would mean more locally caught fish on our dinner tables, in our schools and hospitals. It would mean that parents could have comfort that their children are eating the best Scottish produce at schools across the country. In turn, Scotland's economy and fishing communities would reap the rewards. It's the same for Scottish farmers.

"Scottish Liberal Democrats will continue to urge the Scottish Government to reform local food procurement rules."