NHS Shetland - Survey - March 2021

Mackerel talks break down again

SCOTTISH fishermen are calling for tough sanctions to now be imposed on Iceland and Faroe after negotiations on this year’s valuable mackerel quota broke down once again.

After Friday’s talks in Bergen ended, Scottish Pelagic Fishermen’s Association chief executive Ian Gatt said intransigence from the two island nations had resulted in “further deadlock” and sanctions were the “only option”.

He said: “It is apparent that the EU and Norway are continually making fresh offers to try and achieve a breakthrough, but both Iceland and the Faroes are refusing to move an inch from their position.”

A fresh round of talks between the EU and Norway on one side, and Iceland and the Faroes on the other, are due to resume again in early February.

Scottish fisheries secretary Richard Lochhead warned that after three years of failing to reach a deal with Iceland and Faroe there was a risk the mackerel stock could collapse, threatening a £1 billion fishery.

“If fishing continues at current levels we face the prospect of the mackerel stock falling below safe limits by as early as 2014,” Mr Lochhead said.

In 2011 Faroe unilaterally set themselves a mackerel catch of 150,000 tonnes, up 75 per cent on 2010 and more than five times their internationally agreed share in 2009.

Iceland, who caught very little mackerel prior to 2008, set their own increased quota of around 147,000 tonnes last year.