Talks on the mackerel row dividing the EU and Faroe and Iceland will resume tomorrow amid fresh warnings from Scottish fishermen that the future of the pelagic fleet is at stake.
London will be the venue for the discussions on mackerel quotas for next year and representatives from Norway will also be present. It follows huge self-imposed increases in mackerel quota for this year by Faroe and Iceland in the summer.
The Scottish Fishermen’s Federation and the Scottish Pelagic Fishermen’s Association will be pressing for a deal that does not jeopardise Scotland’s share in the international fishery and which also protects the stock from over-fishing.
Ian Gatt, chief executive of the Scottish Pelagic Fishermen’s Association, said they will be among the most important talks the mackerel industry has ever faced and could define the future shape of the Scottish pelagic fishing fleet.
“This is a defining moment for our fishermen and the implications from the talks could shape the future direction of our industry,” he said.
“We have seen what uncontrolled fishing has done to the blue whiting stock with the latest scientific advice recommending a huge cut in quota by 93 per cent for next year. This must not be allowed to happen to mackerel and it is essential that a sensible deal is reached this week.
“We previously had a long-term management plan in place for mackerel that has resulted in a healthy stock but this is now in jeopardy due to the irresponsible actions of Iceland and the Faroes.
“It is important that any deal reached this week results in a new long term international management plan for mackerel that is in line with scientific advice and protects Scotland’s historical share of the catch quota.”