Scottish fishermen: mackerel deal 'breakthrough'


SeafoodSource staff

Published on
March 13, 2014
A leading Scottish fishermen's association referred to a 12 March agreement to partially settle the "Mackerel Wars" has called the agreement a "significant breakthrough" in talks that have been deadlocked for months.

The agreement, set between the Faroe Islands and the E.U. and Norway, is the first sign of progress in the ongoing dispute over mackerel quotas and overfishing since the E.U. levied trade sanctions against the Faroes last fall. The Faroes, together with Iceland, have been fishing beyond what the E.U. and Norway claimed were reasonable catch limits.

"There were no winners in this deal with sacrifices and concessions being made by all sides, not least by the Scottish and U.K. industries which will have a lower overall mackerel share allocation as a result," said Ian Gatt, chief executive of the Scottish Pelagic Fishermen's Association.

Few official details have been released, but according to the association, the Faroes will receive 12.6 percent of the newly-set 1.24 million-metric-ton total allowable catch for all of Europe. The E.U. and Norway will receive 71.8 percent. Iceland was not participating in the 12 March negotiations, but according to the association, and the remaining 15.6 percent has been earmarked for "Icelandic and Russian catches."

Gatt said he still believes the Faroes quota is too high, but "there are positive aspects to the deal. The big prize is certainly capturing an international fisheries agreement for the north-east Atlantic's most important stock."

Bertie Armstrong, chief executive of the Scottish Fishermen's Federation, said the agreement could directly benefit Scottish fishermen.

"It also brings forward the likelihood of Scottish whitefish boats gaining access to Faroese waters, which has been denied to them for the past four years because of the mackerel dispute," Armstrong said.

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