Call for sanctions against Faroe and Iceland after mackerel talks break down yet again
The EU should impose sanctions against Faroe and Iceland, according to Scottish fishing leaders.
The call came after three days of talks in Oslo to try to reach an agreement on joint managements of the north-east Atlantic mackerel stock ended in deadlock.
Unrealistic demands and irresponsible behaviour of Iceland and Faroe were said to be behind the collapse in negotiations.
Talks have been ongoing since last year with the Faroe Islands and Iceland with the aim of concluding a comprehensive sustainable mackerel management agreement.
Iceland has already set its own mackerel quota for 2011 of more than 150,000 tonnes which, according to the Scottish Pelagic Fishermen’s Association, is not backed by scientific advice.
The Faroese have still to set their unilateral mackerel quota for 2011, but last year they allocated 85,000 tonnes of mackerel quota to their vessel owners.
Ian Gatt, chief executive of the SPFA, said: “We are bitterly disappointed that the totally unrealistic and intransigent stance taken by Iceland the Faroes during these latest talks has meant that it was not possible to reach an agreement.
“The EU and Norway offered genuine and meaningful concessions in a bid to find a resolution, but these were rejected.
“The move by both countries to significantly increase their already grossly over-inflated quotas is the height of irresponsibility and could do real damage to a stock that has been sustainably harvested and carefully looked after by the Scottish fleet.
“It is now more essential than ever that the EU imposes meaningful sanctions against Iceland and the Faroes, including putting accession talks with Iceland to join the EU on hold.
“The EU must stand up for the rights of those member states already in the union and ensure the stocks we rely on and our businesses are protected from countries on the outside. Given this is probably the EU’s most valuable fish stock it’s only right and proper that resolution of the dispute is a pre-condition for accepting Iceland into the body of the EU.”