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Call For Sanctions On Iceland And Faroes

Economics +1 more

SCOTLAND, UK - Scottish fishermen have expressed bitter disappointment that the three-day talks in Oslo to try and reach an agreement on joint management arrangements of the north-east Atlantic mackerel stock has ended in deadlock.

The Scottish, EU and Norwegian fishing industries blame the failure of this latest round of talks due to the unrealistic demands and irresponsible behaviour of Iceland and the Faroe Islands.

Negotiations have been ongoing since last year with the Faroe Islands and Iceland with the aim of concluding a comprehensive sustainable mackerel management agreement.

Iceland has already set its own autonomous mackerel quota for 2011 of more than 150,000 tonnes, which is not backed by scientific advice. The Faroese have still to set their unilateral mackerel quota for 2011, but last year they allocated 85,000 tonnes of mackerel quota to their vessel owners.

Ian Gatt chief executive of the Scottish Pelagic Fishermen’s Association, said: “We are bitterly disappointed that the totally unrealistic and intransigent stance taken by Iceland the Faroes during these latest talks has meant that it was not possible to reach an agreement. The EU and Norway offered genuine and meaningful concessions in a bid to find a resolution, but these were rejected.

“The move by both countries to significantly increase their already grossly over-inflated quotas is the height of irresponsibility and could do real damage to a stock that has been sustainably harvested and carefully looked after by the Scottish fleet.

“It is now more essential than ever that the EU imposes meaningful sanctions against Iceland and the Faroes, including putting accession talks with Iceland to join the EU on hold.

“The EU must stand up for the rights of those Member States already in the Union and ensure the stocks we rely on and our businesses are protected from countries on the outside. Given this is probably the EU’s most valuable fish stock it’s only right and proper that resolution of the dispute is a pre-condition for accepting Iceland into the body of the EU.”