Scottish Government welcomes EU and Norway position on mackerel –

Scottish Government welcomes EU and Norway position on mackerel Published:  29 July, 2011

The public rebuke of the irresponsible mackerel fishing practices of Iceland and the Faroes by the European Commission and Norway has been welcomed by the Scottish Government.

The European Commission and Norway have  jointly stated that they were “deeply concerned about the irresponsible actions of Faroe Islands and Iceland in setting excessive unilateral quotas for their 2011 mackerel fisheries.” The statement follows an industry meeting on Monday, including Scottish fishermen, attended by EU Fisheries Commissioner Maria Damanaki and Norwegian Fisheries Minister Lisbeth Berg-Hansen.

Scottish Fisheries Secretary Richard Lochhead said: “I welcome the joint statement from the EU and Norway, which echoes what I have repeatedly been calling for; that action is needed to address the irresponsible and damaging overfishing of the mackerel stock. Once again, I raised this with Commissioner Damanaki when I met with her earlier this month.

“The excessive mackerel quota declared by the Faroes is so large that their own fleet don’t even have the capacity to meet it, so they are allowing large foreign-owned vessels to operate in Faroese waters. I’m pleased that the Commission and Norway share my concerns over this worrying development.

“The statement speaks of “cooperating closely” with an intent to “coordinate our actions”. While this language is encouraging, what we need is action now if we are to safeguard the valuable mackerel fishery, which is being reckless plundered by Iceland and the Faroes.

“To move the situation forward it’s crucial that we get an early date for the International Ministerial Summit in a neutral country, which I have called on the Commission to instigate. If the mackerel fishery continues to be overfished by Iceland and the Faroe Islands, meaningful sanctions must be implemented by the Commission as soon as possible.”