Agreement reached on mackerel

The EU, Norway and the Faroes have come to an agreement on mackerel share allocations for the north-east Atlantic.

Iceland will not form part of this agreement, but it is possible for the country to join in the future once its internal issues with Greenland over mackerel are resolved.

This new three-party agreement is seen as a significant breakthrough.

The compromise on shares means the Faroe Islands will receive 12.6% of the Total Allowable Catch (TAC), 15.6% has been set aside for Icelandic and Russian catches, with the EU and Norway sharing the remaining 71.8% on the basis of their current bilateral quota share agreement. This new international agreement with the Faroes will last for five years. Access arrangements for the Faroe Islands into EU waters (and vice versa) will be negotiated at the EU/Faroe Islands talks which begin today. Iceland will not have an access arrangement to fish any of its quota in EU waters.

Ian Gatt, chief executive of the Scottish Pelagic Fishermen’s Association said: “There were no winners in this deal with sacrifices and concessions being made by all sides, not least by the Scottish and UK industries which will have a lower overall mackerel share allocation as a result.

“Whilst we believe the shares awarded to the Faroe Islands are too high, there are positive aspects to the deal. The big prize is certainly capturing an international fisheries agreement for the north-east Atlantic’s most important stock.”

UK Fisheries Minister George Eustice said, “Mackerel is the UK’s most valuable fish stock and this deal is a significant step forward to help manage our stocks effectively.”

He said that talks have also ended successfully on North Sea stocks, with additional fish quotas agreed for the UK fleet for North Sea cod.

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