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Crucial talks on mackerel

DISCUSSIONS between the EU, Norway, Iceland and the Faroe Islands on next year’s mackerel quotas in the northeast Atlantic will commence in London on Tuesday.
The talks, which come in the middle of an unprecedented row over fishing rights, have been described as “a defining moment” for the future of the Scottish pelagic fleet.
Earlier this year Iceland and Faroe both granted themselves massive increases in quota allocation which, according to the EU and Scotland, undermine the sustainability of the joint stock.
This morning (Monday), the Scottish Fishermen Federation (SFF) and the Scottish Pelagic Fishermen’s Association (SPFA) called for a deal that would not jeopardise Scotland’s share in the international fishery and which also protects the stock from over-fishing.
Ian Gatt, the SPFA’s chief executive, said the talks would be among the most important the mackerel industry had ever faced.
“This is a defining moment for our fishermen and the implications from the talks could shape the future direction of our industry.
“We have seen what uncontrolled fishing has done to the blue whiting stock with the latest scientific advice recommending a huge cut in quota by 93 per cent for next year.
“This must not be allowed to happen to mackerel and it is essential that a sensible deal is reached this week.
“We previously had a long-term management plan in place for mackerel that has resulted in a healthy stock but this is now in jeopardy due to the irresponsible actions of Iceland and the Faroes.
“It is important that any deal reached this week results in a new long term international management plan for mackerel that is in line with scientific advice and protects Scotland’s historical share of the catch quota.”