Concern over herring deal

12 Jun 2014

The herring agreement between the European Commission and the Faroe Islands must ensure that the Faroese are not rewarded for unsustainable fishing practices, Scottish fishermen have warned.

This follows yesterday’s announcement that the EC and the Faroes have reached a preliminary agreement to end their dispute over quota shares of herring.

Following the withdrawal by the Faroes from an international management agreement for herring in 2013 and setting themselves a “vastly inflated” unilateral quota, the EU imposed trade sanctions against the Faroes. However, the EC has said that the Faroese have agreed to end their unsustainable fishing practices whilst the EC would submit a draft regulation repealing their sanction measures.

Commenting on the situation, Ian Gatt, chief executive of the Scottish Pelagic Fishermen’s Association, said: “At the moment we don’t know the detail of this deal but we must remember that the sanctions were put in place to deter unsustainable fishing practices.

“It is clear that these sanctions are having an effect as the Faroese are contesting the move in the international courts. This year the scientific advice states that 419,000 tonnes can be caught amongst all the coastal states, which would give the Faroes a share of 21,500 tonnes. If the Faroese set themselves a quota higher than this, then the clearly the EC will have made a huge mistake in removing its sanctions lever. If this does happen, then we will be strongly pressing the Scottish and UK Governments not to support this proposal.

“The other major question is whether the other coastal states participating in the fishery – Norway, Iceland and Russia – have been party to or consulted on this proposal. If not, then this could potentially destabilise the co-operation and strong working relationship developed in the management of this valuable stock.”

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Scottish Pelagic Fishermen’s Association (SPFA)

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European Commission

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