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Mackerel talks restart

ICELAND is bringing the four coastal states back around the table in September to restart stalled negotiations over mackerel quotas.

The move comes as Scottish fishermen maintain their pressure on the European Union to impose stringent sanctions on both Iceland and Faroe for their unilateral ramping up of mackerel and herring quota.

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The EU votes on Tuesday whether to impose sanctions on herring and mackerel imports from Faroe.

Iceland’s fisheries minister Sigurður Ingi Jóhannsson said bold action was needed to find “a mutually beneficial solution” as quickly as possible to protect the ecosystem and economies.

Threatening illegal sanctions which are in breach of World Trade Organisation rules, will not resolve this debate and will only delay a diplomatic solution,” he said.

“For the well-being of our country and the North Atlantic, we must reach an agreement. We stand ready to play our part.”

The UK pelagic industry has been urging the EU to vote in favour of sanctions, saying Iceland and Faroe’s behaviour is threatening jobs.

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However the two island states point to scientific evidence that mackerel and herring stocks have changed their migration pattern and are spending more time in local waters, justifying a larger quota.

Meanwhile the Shetland pelagic fleet has been celebrating having the North Sea herring fishery’s sustainability eco-label renewed after five years by the Marine Stewardship Council.

Scottish Pelagic Sustainability Group (SPSG) chairman John Goodlad, from Shetland was given the certificate at a ceremony in Peterhead last week.

The SPSG fleet will sustainably catch 44,000 tonnes of North Sea herring this year in a fishery that is shared with several North Sea European countries.

The herring caught is processed in Scotland to produce a range of products, including fresh fish fillets, marinades and kippers, much of which is exported to markets all over Europe.

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