21st November 2018
Established 1872. Online since 1996.

Fisheries protection vessels to keep Faroese and Icelandic boats out of EU waters

Strenuous efforts will be made to monitor the line between Faroese and Scottish waters, it was revealed today.

Fisheries protection vessels will make close monitoring of the line a top priority to prevent – and respond to – any incursion by Faroese vessels.

The pledge came from fisheries minister Richard Lochhead following moves by Iceland and Faroe to aggressively fish for mackerel, threatening the sustainability of the species.

Mr Lochhead, who today met members of the Scottish Pelagic Fishermen’s Association, said: “We cannot allow disregard for conservation to threaten the sustainability of Scotland’s most valuable catch and I know we have UK government support for this.

“We have been pressing the EU to apply sanctions to Iceland and Faroes for acting in a way which flouts international fishery agreements. With the onset of the mackerel fishing season there is now an urgent need to apply such measures without delay and I urge the commission to act swiftly on this.

“This needs to happen alongside continuation of talks to put in place a new international agreement for the mackerel stock.

“In the meantime, monitoring the line between Scottish and Faroese waters is vital to safeguard our mackerel stocks, and this has been a key focus of my talks today with the Scottish Pelagic Fishermen’s Association.

“In the absence of an access agreement, the Faroese pelagic fleet cannot fish in EU waters and it is important that we do not allow them to plunder our waters as part of their outrageous mackerel grab.

“Scotland’s overwhelming priority remains securing a new deal with the other nations who share the mackerel fishery, to protect the sustainability of the stock and the long-term viability of the industry.

“But in the absence of a deal, I have assured the SPFA that Marine Scotland Compliance will make monitoring the line a top priority.”

In March Faroe and Iceland walked away from a seventh round of talks with the EU and Norway to seek a four-party deal to ensure that the shared mackerel stock is fished sustainably.

Faroe now intends to catch 150,000 tonnes of mackerel – a 75 per cent increase on the 85,000 tonnes limit it set last year and five times more than its share under the last international agreement in 2009.

Iceland, meanwhile, has set itself a total allowable catch (TAC) for mackerel of around 155,000 tonnes – representing 22 per cent of the overall recommended TAC for the fishery and a massive increase on the five per cent share allocated under the previous agreement.

The value of mackerel to the Scottish economy was £135 million pounds in 2009, making it the fleet’s most valuable stock.

About Ryan Taylor

Ryan Taylor has worked as a reporter since 1995, and has been at The Shetland Times since 2007, covering a wide variety of news topics. Before then he reported for other newspapers in the Highlands, where he was raised, and in Fife, where he began his career with DC Thomson. He also has experience in broadcast journalism with Grampian Television. He has lived in Shetland since 2002, where he harbours an unhealthy interest in old cars and motorbikes.

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  1. Chris Ward

    Given that nobody really knows how many fish there are out there, this argument seems to boil down to “our estimate is better than your estimate”, “no it isn’t”, “yes it is”, “no it isn’t”, “yes it is”…
    And if EU bureaucrats weren’t in charge of deciding how much fish should be cuaght, would not Scottish fishermen want to increase their catch too?
    So who is really causing the problem here?

  2. Leifur Eiriksson

    This overfishing will continue as long as the “rightful owners” will not understand that migrading species go into different waters, Icelandic and Faroese waters where they will be fished by these nations righfully, they control their own waters. So the sooneer these “owners” of these species understand this and come to a sensible agreement with Icelandic and Faroese authorities better it will be for all. Iceland has been offered 1-2% of the total quota which is laughable. I belive Iceland would settle for 15% or less, but the greed of the Norwegians and EU (read scots) is such that they will not listen. So this will continue and in the long run everyone but Iceland will lose.

    Best regards

    Leifur Eiriksson former SSQC

  3. Michael Timberlake

    There should be strict regulations for fishing in that area and that boundaries should be kept on the look-out. When demand for a good catch is so high, sometimes fishermen do whatever it takes to get it and earn big time even breaking international laws.


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