Talks on mackerel quotas for next year between the EU and Norway and Iceland and Faroe have broken up without agreement.
The two days of talks in London ended in deadlock although negotiations are expected to resume in 10 days.
The two sides are seeking a deal after Iceland and Faroe unilaterally increased their catches by large amounts for this year. Scottish fishermen believe the extra catches will eventually put the mackerel stock’s Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) sustainably fished stock status at risk.
Scottish fisheries secretary Richard Lochhead said: “We are disappointed that this round of talks has come to an end without any agreement between the parties. The EU remains committed to finding a solution to the ongoing crisis and has expressed its willingness to negotiate with any party prepared to engage on a reasonable basis.
“Unfortunately the positions of Iceland and the Faroes remain far apart from those of the EU and Norway. We will continue to explore all possible avenues in order to ensure there is sustainable management of the mackerel fishery for next year and beyond. Our intention now is to pursue further talks with Iceland and the Faroes as soon as possible.”
Scottish Pelagic Fishermen’s Association chief executive Ian Gatt said: “We are bitterly disappointed that no agreement was reached during this second round, given that it proved impossible to accommodate the aspirations of Iceland and the Faroes.
“We are pleased, however, that the EU has not given in to the excessive demands from Iceland and the Faroes and has adopted a tough and realistic negotiating stance throughout.”
Meanwhile North Sea haddock is being awarded an MSC gold standard award for sustainability at an event being attended by First Minister Alex Salmond in Peterhead.