Scottish Fisheries Minister Lord Sewel has rejected as a myth the suggestion that 6000 square miles of Scottish fishing grounds have been transferred to England.

In a letter to the Scottish Fishermen's Federation he insists the rights of Scottish fishermen to fish throughout British fishery limits are unaffected by the Order passed prior to devolution.

However the Scottish National Party yesterday insisted this was a ''huge scandal'' and has stepped up its campaign to have the area returned to Scottish jurisdiction.

They have been backed by Liberal Democrat Sir Robert Smith, one of the Westminster MP's on the committee which approved the Order.

In his letter, Lord Sewel said: ''Much has been made about 6000 square miles of fishing grounds being seized, he said. ''The reality of the situation is that 140,000 square miles of British Fishery Limits has been transferred from the UK Government to the Scottish Parliament.

''The boundary has been set by drawing a median line. This follows the accepted convention on such matters. Any point on the boundary line is of equal distance to the mainland of Scotland and of England.

''Every inch of the 6000 square miles is closer to England than to Scotland.''

However North East SNP MSP Mr Richard Lochhead said: ''We will be putting forward a Parliamentary motion asking for the 6000 square miles of Scottish waters stolen by Westminster to be reinstated to Scottish waters.''