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Faroese skipper faces technical charges

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

The FAROESE super trawler detained in Lerwick for three days is on her way home after its skipper appeared before the town’s sheriff court on Tuesday lunchtime.

Pall Klein Rasmussen, of 28 Selheygsgot, Klaksvik, Faroe Islands, is facing two technical charges under EU fishing regulations, one referring to the chemical processing of fish, and a second alleging that fish had not been frozen immediately after grading.

The case against the 56 year old skipper of the Christian I Grotinum is continued without plea until 9 December.

The vessel was escorted to Lerwick Harbour by the fisheries protection vessel Hitra on Sunday afternoon and had since been moored at Dales Voe while Marine Scotland carried out its investigation.

Earlier on Tuesday, the chief executive of the company which owns the 84 metre trawler, Eydun Rasmussen, said he had been left in the dark by the authorities having had no contact with Marine Scotland during their investigation.

He said the vessel had reported to the checkpoint as required before leaving Scottish fishing grounds. It had 600 tonnes of frozen and 300 tonnes of fresh mackerel on board.

Meanwhile, responding to criticism from the Shetland Fishermen’s Association, Faroese fishing minister Jacob Vestergaard insisted that the country’s pelagic boats had every right to catch mackerel off Shetland.

On Monday the SFA called for the latest mackerel deal between the EU, Norway and Faroe to be torn up as it was based on the “fiction” that the sea around Shetland was awash with mackerel.

However, under the controversial deal Faroe has been given the right to catch almost 47,000 tonnes of its 2014 quota of 156,000 tonnes in EU waters.

Faroese fishing minister Jacob Vestergaard.
Vestergaard said: “Faroe vessels have caught almost all the quota in Faroese waters until about two weeks ago.

“Now, some of the vessels fish their remaining quota in EU waters off Shetland, which is also part of the agreement.

“We are not breaking any laws, and we know that we cannot fish the 12-mile zone.”

In Faroe the mackerel deal reached in March was celebrated as a big victory in a four year long political battle with the EU and Norway.

The Faroese treasury earns around £18.7 million (170 million kroner) in additional tax for the mackerel landed during this year.

Vestergaard added that he could understand why local people were upset when seeing Faroese boats fishing off Shetland.

“We have our own policy while in Shetland fisheries management in handled by Brussels.

“We will not participate in the EU; that’s the main difference between us and you in Shetland,” he said.

 

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