Anger voiced as Faroese vessel fishes inside Shetland waters

With the autumn mackerel fishery well under way, Shetland Fishermen’s Association is calling for Marine Scotland to maintain a level playing field for all boats operating in EU waters.

It comes amid claims that a Faroese vessel was fishing within Shetland’s 12-mile limit earlier this week.

SFA executive officer Simon Collins said: “We are urging Marine Scotland Compliance to enforce the rules fairly.

Shetland Fishermen's Association executive officer Simon Collins.
Shetland Fishermen’s Association executive officer Simon Collins.

“It would be outrageous if Faroese boats were catching fish within our 12-mile limit and not being held to account.”

Feelings remain raw among Shetland pelagic fishermen over the two-year-old deal which allowed Faroese vessels back into EU waters to catch mackerel.

The SFA says agreement was reached against a backdrop of large unilateral increases in mackerel quota by Faroe which they claimed reflected huge growth in stocks around the islands.

The association has highlighted figures showing Faroese vessels caught just over 15,000 tonnes of mackerel in 2009.

By 2014 that figure had increased tenfold to 150,000 tonnes.

But Mr Collins says between 2013 and 2014 the amount caught in Faroese waters slumped from just over 35,000 tonnes to 7,900 tonnes.

Meanwhile, as a result of the deal, the amount of mackerel caught by Faroese boats in the North Sea and Kattegat increased from 376 tonnes to more than 46,000 tonnes.

Mr Collins added: “Shetland’s fishermen remain dumfounded at the scale of the EU’s giveaway to Faroe, which of course was backed enthusiastically by both the UK and Scottish governments.

“We demand a fairer deal when these international agreements come up for renewal, and another look at Faroese access arrangements at the earliest opportunity.”


Add Your Comment
  • George Dickson

    • October 30th, 2015 20:13

    Both the UK and Scottish governments will continue to make claims that suggest they are doing their job regarding who can and who cannot fish our waters. Meanwhile, Shetlands waters will be stripped clean. I would be interested to hear any claims or beliefs that suggest otherwise.

  • John Tulloch

    • October 31st, 2015 10:25

    The Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) has been and is being, extremely damaging for Shetland’s vital fishing industry.

    The UK is currently renegotiating Britain’s deal in the EU with a view to holding an in/out referendum in 2018 and an area of great injustice to Britain, crying out for abolition since the 1970s, is the CFP.

    This is a scheme which many EU countries acknowledge is not working and could be ripe for picking off in the negotiations. It represents a grave injustice to UK fishing fleets, in particular, Shetland’s.

    Sadly, the British government appears oblivious to the opportunity as the CFP has not been included in their EU reform agenda.

    The decision by BP to bypass Sullom Voe with Schiehallion oil and its financial consequences underlines the importance of Shetland’s biggest industry, fishing, to the isles.

    If the CFP issue cannot be resolved by negotiation, it will be strongly in Shetland’s interests to leave the EU, as Greenland did in 1985, following the imposition of the CFP on them via Denmark’s joining the EU in the 1970s.


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