Scottish mackerel fishermen will boycott tomorrow’s international conference on fisheries in Torhsavn over the continuing dispute between the EU and Faroe and Iceland following their huge quota increases.
Members of the Scottish Pelagic Fisheremen’s Association had been due to attend the talks but, in line with its decision to end co-operation with Iceland and Faroe until the dispute is resolved, the organisation has now given its formal notification of withdrawal
It means Scottish MEP Struan Stevenson, senior vice-president of the European Parliament’s fisheries committee, will be the key EU figure in Torshavn.
Ian Gatt, chief executive of the Scottish Pelagic Fishermen’s Association, said: “We want to send a very clear signal to the Faroese and Icelanders that their dangerous and irresponsible decision to significantly increase their mackerel quotas is not something the international community will tolerate.
“It goes against scientific advice and will have a detrimental impact on a stock that has been looked after and sustainably fished by the Scottish fleet. The irresponsible actions of both nations could undo the years of hard work and sacrifice made by the Scottish industry.
“If Iceland and the Faroes do discuss stock management at tomorrow’s meeting, they will be doing so in a vacuum because none of the major stakeholders in the fishery will be there.
“The only way this issue is going to be resolved is through direct talks. We are committed to ensuring a satisfactory deal is struck, but not at any price. It is particularly important that any final agreement ensures that the mackerel stock is properly protected.”