FINAL CHANCE FOR 2012 MACKEREL DEAL Published:  14 February, 2012

Further talks commencing today (Tuesday February 14 ) in Reykjavik, Iceland, are a final opportunity to secure international agreement for the sustainable fishing of the North East Atlantic mackerel stock during 2012.

The EU (Including senior Scottish Government representation), Norway, Faroe Islands and Iceland have reconvened negotiations to seek agreement on each country’s mackerel quotas for 2012 and beyond. In recent months four previous rounds have failed to reach a deal – while numerous sets of talks since 2009 have been unsuccessful.

Scottish Fisheries Secretary Richard Lochhead said: “Mackerel is a high-value stock for all the countries that participate in the fishery, therefore it is common sense that we work together and ensure the stock is sustainably fished. However, this has not been the case over the past three years.

“We need a new four-way international agreement that will safeguard the long-term sustainability of the mackerel fishery. Therefore I call on all parties to work together constructively and negotiate reasonably.”

In 2010 and 2011, the EU and Norway have set a bilateral mackerel agreement following the failure of negotiations with Faroes and Iceland for a four-party Coastal States agreement.

In 2011 the Faroes set themselves a mackerel catch of 150,000 tonnes, up 75 per cent on 2010 and more than five times their agreed share in 2009.

Iceland, who caught very little mackerel prior to 2008, set their own increased catch of around 147,000 tonnes last year.