Scientist says politicians must solve mackerel dispute –

Scientist says politicians must solve mackerel dispute Published:  15 September, 2010

A LEADING fish ecologist is to say in Scotland this week that the mackerel dispute with Iceland and the Faroe Islands will have to be solved by politicians rather than scientists.

Poul Degnbol of Denmark will make the point when he gives a talk in Argyll this week. Poul is chief of the International Council for the Exploration of the Seas (ICES) advisory programme. He recently won the 2010 World Wild Fund for nature’s Baltic Sea Leadership Award for his work on sustainable fisheries for the European Union.

Tomorrow he will deliver the prospective University of the Highlands and Islands annual lecture at the Scottish Association for Marine Science at Dunstaffnage, near Oban. But he told BBC Scotland’s news website that the mackerel row was not a scientific issue because none of the parties on either side of the dispute had questioned the scientific advice given by ICES. He said it was all about getting a working arrangement to share access to the mackerel between the fleets of the different countries, so the fishery overall remained sustainable. At tomorrow’s lecture Poul Degnbol will talk about the management of marine eco-systems and its impact on fisheries and on ways of improving the Common Fisheries Policy.

Meanwhile, despite all sides saying they wish to settle the dispute by negotiation there has been little positive movement in that direction so far. Iceland continues to catch mackerel in large quantities with HB Grandi, one of the main pelagic Icelandic fishing companies, saying it processed 10,000 tons of mackerel and herring for human consumption.