Scots to urge action on mackerel at council

24 Sep 2010

At the AgriFish Council meeting in Brussels on Monday 27 September, Scottish fishermen will be pressing the European Commission to give a clear signal of intent that strong action will be taken against Iceland and the Faroes if the two countries fail to reach an acceptable deal on international mackerel quotas next month.

A meeting between the EU, Norway, Iceland and the Faroes to discuss the mackerel situation is scheduled for 12 October in London. Scottish fishermen and their EU counterparts are urging for a strong negotiating stance to be taken at the talks.

In particular, they want the assurance that Iceland will not be granted access to EU waters to fish for mackerel under any quota agreement. Scottish fishermen are also looking for the EC to follow the lead of Norway in banning the landing of Faroese mackerel into EU ports until the dispute is resolved.

Monday’s AgriFish Council meeting will sound out EU ministers on the stance they wish to adopt at next month’s talks.

Mackerel is the only fishing issue on the agenda at the Council meeting.

Scientific advice maintains that the north-east Atlantic mackerel fishery cannot sustain the current level of uptake following the huge unilateral increases in quota imposed by Iceland and the Faroes this year.

Ian Gatt, chief executive of the Scottish Pelagic Fishermen’s Association, said: “It is essential that a fair and sensible agreement is reached at next month’s talks so as to ensure the future health of the mackerel stock whilst at the same time not jeopardising Scotland’s traditional share of the quota.

“With the support of the Scottish and UK fishing ministers, we are looking for the EC to give a clear indication that they will adopt a tough stance at next month’s talks.”

Meanwhile, Gatt along with Gerard van Balsfoort, the leader of the Dutch pelagic fishing industry, will give a presentation on Wednesday 29 September to MEPs at the European Parliament in Strasbourg on the mackerel crisis.

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