Scots fishermen meet to discuss next stage in campaign to resolve mackerel dispute –

Scots fishermen meet to discuss next stage in campaign to resolve mackerel dispute Published:  10 September, 2010

Scottish mackerel fishermen will meet in Fraserburgh this Monday (13 September) to discuss the next stage in their campaign to try and ensure a sensible agreement is reached with Iceland and the Faroes following their decision to unilaterally and significantly increase their mackerel quotas.

The Fraserburgh meeting, which has been organised by the Scottish Pelagic Fishermen’s Association (SPFA) with support from the Scottish Fishermen’s Federation (SFF), will discuss the outcome of bilateral talks between the Faroes and EU negotiators which are due to finish later today (10 September).

It will also discuss the strategy that Scottish mackerel fishermen will adopt should any more Faroese vessels try to land fish into Scotland. Two previous attempts to land mackerel were thwarted by peaceful protests mounted by Scottish fishermen.

Ian Gatt, chief executive of the SPFA, said: “It is essential that a fair and equitable deal is reached with Iceland and the Faroes.

“We hope that today’s talks between the Faroes and the EU achieves some kind of breakthrough as it is essential that there is a quick resolution to this dispute. Any agreement must not compromise the interests of the Scottish fleet and also ensure that the mackerel stock is sustainably harvested in line with scientific advice.

“The meeting planned in Fraserburgh for this Monday will be a chance for our members to air their views and discuss the next stage in our strategy.”

Bertie Armstrong, chief executive of the SFF, said: “There is real anger on the quayside that such an important fishery to Scotland is being threatened by the irresponsible actions of Iceland and the Faroes. We have initiated a range of conservation measures to ensure the stock is in a healthy state and all this hard work could be undone if a resolution is not reached.”

Meanwhile, the Scottish fishing industry briefed MSPs with an interest in fisheries on the latest situation at the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh yesterday (9 September).

* The meeting in Fraserburgh starts at 10am on Monday 13 September and will be held at the Fraserburgh Leisure Centre.