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Faroe fishermen being watched

MARINE Scotland has stepped up its air patrols of the sea border with Faroe to keep an eye out for illegal fishing as mackerel migrate south.

The Scottish government is worried that Faroese fishermen will follow the valuable species south into their territorial waters from which they have been banned as part of the ongoing dispute over the stock.

For the past two years both Faroe and Iceland have unilaterally increased their mackerel quotas, claiming that the fish are spending more time in their territory.

Marine Scotland have been sending two spotter planes to patrol the border which lies 180 miles north of Shetland, while fisheries protection vessels have been in the area for the past few weeks.

Fisheries secretary Richard Lochhead said the government was going to take a tough stand against its neighbours over the dispute.

The government is already calling for the European Union to implement trade sanctions against both Faroe and Iceland.