Disappointment at break-down in mackerel talks – Fishupdate.com

Disappointment at break-down in mackerel talks Published:  04 September, 2012

The Scottish Government has expressed ‘disappointment’ at the lack of a break through  during talks between the EU, Norway, Iceland and Faroes in the mackerel fishery stalemate.

Scottish Fisheries Secretary Richard Lochhead has labelled the outcome as “disappointing but sadly predictable” as Iceland and the Faroes continue to show little willingness to negotiate and instead pursue excessive mackerel quotas outwith an international agreement.

The meeting yesterday (September 3) was between EU Fisheries Commissioner Maria Damanaki, Norway’s Fisheries Minister Lisbeth Berg-Hansen and Icelandic Fisheries Minister Steingrímur Sigfússon, while Faroese Fisheries Minister Jacob Vestergaard was a late addition to the talks.

Mr Lochhead said: “Recent years show that Iceland and the Faroes have a track-record in demonstrating a lack of willingness to compromise and reach a fair deal for mackerel, therefore it is disappointing but sadly predictable that these latest talks have failed to offer a new way forward.

“By initiating these talks, Commissioner Damanaki has demonstrated her personal resolve to finding a solution that will see a sensible deal in place to safeguard the mackerel stock. However, once again diplomacy has failed.

 “It’s unacceptable for any state to compromise the sustainability of a shared fishery by setting hugely inflated quotas. And if we continue to see self-interest and stubbornness as the hallmark of the Iceland and Faroese stances then we need the EU to be equipped to take meaningful action.

“That’s why we need the EU to press on with its long-promised sanction proposals and implement them as soon as possible.”

Scottish fishermen have also expressed disappointment at the failure of a meeting.

Responding to this latest failure in a protracted series of talks to reach an agreement, Ian Gatt, chief executive of the Scottish Pelagic Fishermen’s Association, said: “We are disappointed that there was no breakthrough, but if a fair deal wasn’t on the table for the EU and Norway, then we support the negotiating position adopted by Commissioner Damanaki.

“If it is not possible to reach agreement at this high level, then one has to question whether there is any hope at all for the next round of talks scheduled for October. This makes it even more important than ever that the European Parliament ratifies sanction measures against Iceland and the Faroes this month, and that the EU wastes no time in immediately implementing them.”

In February protracted negotiations failed to secure a four-way Coastal States deal for 2012, leading to a third straight year without agreement. New mackerel talks for 2013 are set to commence in October.