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Tavish demands sanctions against northern neighbours

Tavish Scott

SHETLAND MSP Tavish Scott is calling on the Scottish government to support sanctions against Iceland and the Faroes after international talks over mackerel fishing rights collapsed last week.

Mackerel quotas in the northeast Atlantic have for many years been agreed multilaterally between the EU, Norway, Iceland and the Faroes, with the EU and Norway taking the lion’s share.

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Two years ago Iceland and the Faroes started setting themselves much larger quotas in support of their own growing pelagic industries, which has now led to two mackerel fishing seasons without internationally agreement and catches in excess of what has been recommended by scientists.

Talks aimed to find common ground for the 2012 fishery collapsed in Reykjavik on Thursday. Iceland is now expected to set themselves a quota of 45,000 tonnes while the Faroes will catch around 150,000 tonnes.

On Monday morning, Mr Scott said that the only way to end the “illegal mackerel fishery by Iceland and Faroes” was to impose sanctions against the two countries.

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“Iceland and Faroe have decided to fish as much mackerel as they can in 2012. That’s what they did in 2011 and got away with it. So their fishermen’s activities which are strongly backed by their own governments are hardly a surprise.

“Endless negotiating meetings have taken place in endless European countries. Last week all the negotiators were dragged up to Reykjavik and even when in Iceland there was absolutely no progress to resolve this fishing crisis.

“I want the Scottish Government to support the sanctions which can be imposed by the EU. Perhaps the fact that damaging sanctions are to be imposed will lead to a negotiated settlement but it can’t be one that hammers the local industry.

Mackerel is a vital species for the local fleet and Shetland Catch so our economy needs a sensible settlement as much as the rest of Scotland and the EU.”

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