MP calls for rethink on Faroese fishing deal after ‘enormous scepticism’
Pressure should be put on EU negotiators to revisit the controversial deal struck in 2013 between the Faroe Islands and Brussels, according to the isles MP.
Alistair Carmichael is calling on the UK fisheries minister, George Eustice, to make fresh intervention following “enormous scepticism” among pelagic crews.
Mackerel fishermen have been left furious over a five year deal allowing Faroese trawlers to take close to a third of their mackerel catch in EU waters.
Now, Mr Carmichael has called on British officials to engage meaningfully in talks at the December council to secure a better deal.
Speaking in the House of Commons, Mr. Carmichael said: “The minister has already heard my worries about the Faroese deal on mackerel. There was enormous scepticism among the Scottish pelagic fleet, the Shetland pelagic catchers in particular, when the deal was brokered a few years ago.
“However, they did accept that they would give it a go. They gave it a go, and it is clear that that scepticism was, if anything, understated.”
The findings of a Seafish report have shown that Faroese boats caught almost 33,000 tonnes of mackerel in EU waters during 2015.
That was mostly in Scottish waters, while Scottish boats got “absolutely none” from Faroese waters.
Mr Carmichael said that, if Faroese boats chose to land their fish in Scotland, they would be penalised by their government.
“The minister will know that the talks on the next iteration of this deal are to be held in Brussels on 6th and 7th December, so may I instill in him the strongest possible resolve in tackling this, because the imbalance of this deal becomes more egregious with every year that passes.”