Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Nationalists could amend livebait ban

Scottish Nationalists could favour exemptions in a livebait ban, one of their MPs hinted tonight.

Pike anglers on both sies of the border have been lobbying hard since proposals for a blanket ban on live baiting were included in new fisheries legislation.

While the Scottish parliament has provisionally backed the ban, MPs now have the chance to debate the bill line by line, meaning amendments could be introduced.

Responding to an e-mail sent to MSPs, Scottish Nationalist Maureen Watt said: "The SNP supports measures that will prevent alien species invading Scotland's rivers given the associated dangers to fish health and biodiversity.

"We therefore support bans on the use of live bait. However, we believe there may be a case for exemptions, for instance for the use of certain live bait that poses none of the above mentioned threats.

"Once we have had sight of the Minister's proposed amendment that will introduce the ban, if need be, SNP members on the committee will introduce amendments allowing exemptions to be introduced through secondary legislation.

"The SNP is keen to prevent any disproportionate impact on coarse angling."

Scottish Conservatives have already said they will back amendments to the bill to prevent a blanket ban.

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