Faeroes jacks up 2011 mackerel quota
As the deadlock over mackerel in the North Atlantic drags on, the Faeroe Islands has set its mackerel quota at 150,000 metric tons in 2011, up about 65,000 metric tons from 2010 and in line with Iceland’s 2011 mackerel quota.
The decision, which comes a few days after yet another round of talks in Oslo failed to yield an agreement, is drawing a lot of criticism from Scottish fishermen. Ian Gatt, CEO of the Scottish Pelagic Fishermen’s Association, said the Faeroes should have set its mackerel quota at 29,700 metric tons if it had adhered by the coastal states management plan for mackerel, which also involves the European Union and Norway.
“In effect they have massively increased their quota by five-fold, which goes against all scientific advice. Their behavior is grossly irresponsible and puts at real risk a stock that has been carefully nurtured and looked after by the Scottish fleet. If every nation unilaterally increased their quotas five-fold, then there would be no fish left in the sea,” said Gatt.
“The Faeroese maintain that changes in the migratory patterns of mackerel is behind their decision to increase their quota. However, we totally refute this suggestion as there is no evidence that there has been any change in the movement of mackerel,” he added.
In mid-2010, Iceland and the Faeroe Islands sparked fury among Scottish fishermen after setting unilateral mackerel quotas far higher than catches in previous years. The Faeroes set its 2010 mackerel quota at 85,000 metric tons, more than three times the 2009 quota, while Iceland targeted 130,000 metric tons of mackerel last year. The entire EU mackerel quota for 2010 came in at 130,000 metric tons.