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Challenging The Faroese MSC Accreditation

SCOTLAND, UK - The Scottish Fishermens Federation has thrown its full support behind the Scottish Governments decision to challenge the Faroese application for Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) accreditation of its mackerel fishery because of its failure to reach a stock management agreement with other participants in the north-east Atlantic mackerel fishery.

The Faroese Government’s refusal to sign up to a Coastal States agreement for 2010 because their demands for a larger share of the mackerel TAC have not been met, and subsequent moves to unilaterally increase their quota, would breach the regulations for its mackerel fishery to become MSC certified.

Iceland is also threatening to unilaterally increase its catch allocation for mackerel, which the SFF fears will put the overall health of the stock in serious jeopardy. Both Iceland and the Faroes are also demanding access to EU waters for mackerel.

Bertie Armstrong, SFF chief executive, said: “We wholeheartedly support the Scottish Government in their challenge to the MSC accreditation process for the Faroese mackerel fishery.

“We have real concerns about the lack of a mackerel agreement because this appalling behaviour by Iceland and the Faroese threatens the sustainability of an extremely valuable stock that has been carefully nurtured by the Scottish fleet.”

The Scottish Western mackerel fishery is currently certified by the MSC as a well-managed and responsible fishery.

Ian Gatt, SFF president and chief executive of the Scottish Pelagic Fishermen’s Association, said: “This potential unilateral action by Iceland and the Faroes for increasing their mackerel TACs will put enormous strain on the stock and we strongly endorse this challenge from the Scottish Government, which we hope will make them see sense.

“If there is failure to reach a coastal states agreement because of Faroese intransigence, then because such an agreement is an integral part of MSC accreditation, there is a real danger that we could end up with the ludicrous situation of Scotland losing its prestigious MSC environmental certification despite being at the forefront of implementing measures to ensure the stock is sustainably harvested.”

the Fish Site Editor

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