New attempt to secure international mackerel deal –

New attempt to secure international mackerel deal Published:  25 November, 2010

A third round of talks between the EU, Norway, Iceland and the Faroe Islands, with the aim of securing a new international agreement on mackerel fishing quotas, starts in Norway today (November 25). Scottish Government officials are taking part in the negotiations.

Commenting on the talks, Scottish Fisheries Secretary Richard Lochhead said: “These complex and marathon negotiations are continuing and no matter how long it takes we must remain focussed on the outcome, which is the sustainable management of the mackerel fishery for next year and beyond.

“With the first two rounds of negotiations between the EU, Norway, Iceland and the Faroes ending without agreement, all parties must be prepared to engage on a reasonable basis in this week’s talks.

“Our priority remains a new four-way agreement to protect a vital mackerel stock that Scotland, Norway and the EU have managed sustainably. However, if one party refuses to compromise then a three party agreement would be better than the current situation.

“We will not do a deal at any price and must not send out the message that the setting of huge unilateral quotas will be rewarded.”At the end of July the Faroe Islands set a quota for mackerel of 85,000 tonnes for this year, more than three times their previous total allowable catch (TAC), which follows a recent decision by Iceland to declare themselves a unilateral quota of 130,000 tonnes.The value of mackerel to the Scottish economy was £135 million in 2009 – the fleet’s most valuable stock.