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Mackerel dispute rumbles on

SCOTTISH fishermen will continue this week with their attempts to find a solution to the damaging conflict with Faroe and Iceland over mackerel quota in the Northeast Atlantic.

A meeting in Fraserburgh on Monday morning, organised by the Scottish Pelagic Fishermen’s Association (SPFA) and supported by the Scottish Fishermen’s Federation, will hear the outcome of talks between Faroe and EU negotiators, which were held on Friday.

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The meeting will also discuss the strategy that Scottish mackerel fishermen will adopt should any more Faroese vessels try to land fish into Scotland.

Two previous attempts to land mackerel were thwarted by peaceful protests mounted by Scottish fishermen.

SPFA chief executive Ian Gatt said: “It is essential that a fair and equitable deal is reached with Iceland and the Faroes.

“Any agreement must not compromise the interests of the Scottish fleet and also ensure that the mackerel stock is sustainably harvested in line with scientific advice.”

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SFF chief executive Bertie Armstrong added: “There is real anger on the quayside that such an important fishery to Scotland is being threatened by the irresponsible actions of Iceland and the Faroes.

“We have initiated a range of conservation measures to ensure the stock is in a healthy state and all this hard work could be undone if a resolution is not reached.”

Meanwhile, Jørgen Niclasen, the Faroese minister for foreign affairs underlined his country’s commitment to find a solution of what has widely been dubbed the “mackerel war”.

Following an informal meeting with Scottish MEP Struan Stevenson on Thursday, Mr Niclasen said that it was the responsibility of all coastal states to “share the responsibility to solve the mackerel issue and find a new agreement on the sharing of this valuable stock”.

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