EU mackerel sanctions agreed

26 Sep 2012
Atlantic mackerel. Credit: NOAA Northeast Fisheries Science Center

Atlantic mackerel. Credit: NOAA Northeast Fisheries Science Center

The Scottish Government has confirmed that sanctions to penalise the “irresponsible mackerel fishing by Iceland and the Faroe Islands” were formally agreed in Brussels on Tuesday.

However, the European Commission has warned that scientific advice due out at the end of this week is likely to recommend a cut in mackerel quotas for 2013.

Speaking following the EU Fisheries Council where the issue was on the agenda, Scotland's Fishing Minister Richard Lochhead said:

"This has been a painfully slow process but sanctions have finally been agreed and we will continue to press for them to be implemented if the Faroes and Iceland again declare inflated mackerel quotas for next year.

"It is simply infuriating that overfishing of mackerel by Iceland and the Faroes could lead to Scottish fishermen facing reduced quotas. The current negotiating framework and Europe's lack of urgency is failing to protect a vital fishery and is threatening Scottish jobs. Now we are left in a very complex and difficult place.

"If next month's scheduled talks with Iceland and the Faroes don't deliver a breakthrough then the threat posed to this important international fishery and many livelihoods will only increase”, he said.

Scottish fishermen are calling on the EC to act with real urgency and ensure that effective sanctions are quickly implemented.

Ian Gatt, chief executive of the Scottish Pelagic Fishermen’s Association, said: “We welcome this formal agreement for action, but the EC must now dramatically step up the pace and get an effective sanctions package implemented as soon as possible.

“Livelihoods in the Scottish catching, processing and other ancillary sectors could be affected if this totally irresponsible overfishing by Iceland and the Faroes were to result in reduced quotas for our own fishing fleet, which has been adhering to scientific advice and fishing sustainably.”

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Scottish Pelagic Fishermen’s Association (SPFA)

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Scottish Government Fisheries Group

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European Commission

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