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Fishermen’s Faroe concern

A Faroese vessel being inspected off Compass Head about two years ago - Photo: Ronnie Robertson
A Faroese vessel is being inspected by a Marine Scotland patrol boat off Compass Head. Photo: Ronnie Robertson

SCOTTISH Pelagic Fishermen’s Association and Shetland Fishermen’s Association have joined forces to call on European Commission once again to promptly examine the access given to Faroese fishing vessels in EU waters.

The two associations said they understood that the Faroese parliament is close to giving its vessels “significantly higher” quotas for pelagic species, despite not having international agreement.

As part of a bilateral deal, Faroese vessels can catch some mackerel and blue whiting quota in EU waters, while EU vessels can do the same in Faroe waters.

But Scottish Pelagic Fishermen’s Association chief executive Ian Gatt said if Faroe vessels are set to receive higher quotas then their EU access needs to be urgently reviewed.

“By grabbing additional quotas for species such as blue whiting and Atlanto-Scandian herring this year, Faroe continues to make a mockery of sustainable international fisheries management,” he said.

“The move is unjustified by science or any pretence at agreement. How the European Commission can stand idly by while Faroe takes such an irresponsible attitude is beyond us. It needs to review access arrangements at once.”

Shetland Fishermen’s Association’s Simon Collins added that the European Union needs to do more to keep a closer eye on what boats from Faroe are catching.

“Having granted Faroese boats access to our waters, the least the EU could do is keep track of what they are catching, and where, with proper inspections of port control arrangements in Faroe,” Collins said.

“Not for the first time, we have a rogue state abusing access to our waters. The fact that these same vessels can now look forward to significantly higher quotas without any scientific justification only adds insult to injury.”