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Mackerel talks

A THIRD round of mackerel talks concluded on Friday having failed to reach an agreement between the EU, Norway, Iceland and Faroe. Further negotiations are scheduled for January.

Scottish environment secretary said that unless an agreement was reached with Iceland and Faroe to reduce their quota within safe limits, the stocks could start to deplete by 2014.

“Mackerel is the Scottish fleet’s most valuable stock. It is in all the interests of all parties for the fishery to be both profitable and sustainable,” he said. “The longer we continue without a coastal states agreement, the greater the threat to the mackerel stock.

“If fishing continues at the levels we have seen over the past two years, we face the possibility of the stock falling below safe limits as early as 2014. We cannot afford to let this happen.”