The Scottish fishing industry has called for a sensible mackerel deal in a new round of talks which begin in London tomorrow.
Some progress was made in the first round of discussions between the EU and Norway and Faroe and Iceland two weeks ago with all parties recognising the importance of securing an acceptable deal at the earliest possible opportunity.
The Scottish Fishermen’s Federation and its constituent member, the Scottish Pelagic Fishermen’s Association, are pressing for a deal that recognises Scotland’s historical share of the catch in the north-east Atlantic mackerel fishery, while at the same time adhering to the recommended scientific advice on catch uptake so as to protect the stock.
Scottish Pelagic Fishermen’s Association chief executive Ian Gatt said: “We are disappointed that a deal was not reached during the first round of talks although we are encouraged that there is the basis for continuing the negotiations into a second round of discussions.
“The current situation with blue whiting, which resulted last week in a massive cut in the quota because of the poor state of the stock, must not be allowed to happen with mackerel.
“All coastal state parties have lost fishing opportunity following the blue whiting cut and this week’s mackerel talks shouldn’t be viewed as an opportunity for making up for this loss of fishing entitlement.
“It is essential than any deal reached must ensure that mackerel is harvested at sustainable levels while at the same time protecting the rights of those who have traditionally fished for the species in the north-east Atlantic.
“The future of Scotland’s valuable mackerel fishery is at stake during these crucial talks, and while we will continue to press for an early agreement, it must not be achieved at any cost.”