Dr Ian Duncan's comments on Scottish mackerel processing wrong, says SFF and Fisheries Minister – Fishupdate.com

Dr Ian Duncan’s comments on Scottish mackerel processing wrong, says SFF and Fisheries Minister Published:  25 January, 2013

THE contention made by Dr Ian Duncan, European Officer for the Scottish Parliament, that fish processing jobs in Scotland are dependent upon imports of mackerel from Iceland is wrong, says the Scottish Fishermen’s Federation.

At a meeting of the European and External Relations Committee yesterday, Dr Duncan appeared to suggest that many pelagic processing jobs in Shetland and north-east Scotland depended upon mackerel imported from Iceland, and for that reason MSPs should not push for sanctions against Iceland.

Bertie Armstrong, chief executive of the Scottish Fishermen’s Federation, said: “We are surprised by Dr Duncan’s comments because there has never been any processing of Icelandic caught mackerel in Scottish processing facilities, and there has been no processing of Faroese mackerel in Scotland since the start of this dispute.

“Therefore, sanctions against Iceland and the Faroes would have no impact upon Scottish processing plants. Indeed, we believe the imposition of sanctions would help focus minds and lead to a resolution to the over-fishing of mackerel by Iceland and the Faroes, which would benefit everyone. We would urge Dr Duncan to keep in closer contact with the Scottish fishing industry so that he is fully aware of the facts.”

Fisheries Secretary Richard Lochhead added: “I am surprised by comments made by Dr Duncan today given that, as far as I understand, there is no processing of Icelandic or Faroes mackerel happening in our plants. I would therefore be keen to know where he got his information from.

“It is vital that Iceland and the Faroes Islands recognise that Europe can’t stand idle and watch as they jeopardise fish stocks. That’s why sanctions are needed.”