CAB - 7 Oct 2020 - 10 Oct 2020 - Advice

Call to tear up Faroese mackerel deal

The fisheries protection vessel Hitra escorting Christian I Grotinum to Lerwick harbour on Sunday - Photo: Ian Leask

SHETLAND Fishermen’s Association (SFA) is demanding that the EU and Norway tear up the deal that awarded the Faroe Islands a huge increase in the mackerel quota.

The call comes on the same day that Faroese super trawler Christian I Grotinum was detained off Shetland for allegedly breaching fishing regulations.

Fisheries protection agency Marine Scotland confirmed than an investigation is currently under way.

The Christian I Grotinum was escorted to Lerwick by the fisheries protection vessel Hirta on Sunday afternoon and is berthed at Lerwick’s Dales Voe.

SFA’s executive’s officer Simon Collins said the controversial compromise brokered by the EU in March following a four year long stand off over mackerel rights was “deeply offensive” to local fishermen.

He said the deal was based on the fiction that the seas around Faroe were awash with mackerel.

However, since the start of the current mackerel season the majority of the Faroese fleet has been catching mackerel around Shetland and returning to Faroe to land.

“Over the past two months we have seen most of the Faroese fleet very close to Shetland’s shores catching mackerel – proof if it were required that the deal was reached on an entirely false premise.

“It’s time for the EU and Norway to tear up this agreement and negotiate a deal on proper foundations.”

Back in March, the Faroese pelagic industry was awarded a 12.6 per cent share in the north east Atlantic mackerel quota, which currently amounts to 156,000 tonnes, 46,850 tonnes of which can be caught in Scottish waters.

“If anyone deserved an increase in their share of quota it was Shetland, given the abundance of mackerel around our shores,” Mr Collins said.

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