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EU Mackerel Action Imminent

Sustainability Politics +2 more

SCOTLAND, UK - The Scottish Fisheries Secretary has received assurances that EU plans for mackerel sanctions against Iceland and the Faroe Islands are at an advanced stage.

Richard Lochhead spoke with EU Fisheries Commissioner Maria Damanaki this afternoon, and pressed for urgent action to be taken over the unacceptable overfishing of mackerel.

Recent declarations by Iceland and the Faroes have seen them claim almost half of the available mackerel stock, outwith any international agreement. Last week the Faroes awarded themselves an increased quota, up 75 per cent on the previous year, while Iceland has already set themselves another bumper catch for 2011.

Mr Lochhead said: "I spoke with Commissioner Damanaki today, to urge the EU to follow through on its promises and put in place sanctions against Iceland and the Faroes. We must address their flagrant disregard of the responsibility to fish the mackerel stock sustainably.

"The Commissioner agreed that the current situation is unacceptable and tough action is needed. She assured me that concrete proposals from the EU are imminent and that an announcement is expected in the coming days.

"The time for talking is at an end, as Iceland and the Faroes have demonstrated they have no genuine interest in seeking international agreement. Therefore, I welcome the stance of Commissioner Damanaki and look forward to meaningful actions being taken by the EU as soon as possible."

The Faroe Islands set themselves a Total Allowable Catch (TAC) of mackerel for 2011 of 150,000 tonnes, up 75 per cent on 2010 and more than five times their agreed share in 2009. From 2000-2009 the Faroes were part of an international trilateral mackerel agreement with the EU and Norway. Iceland, who caught very little mackerel prior to 2008, set their own increased TAC of around 147,000 tonnes earlier this year.

Provisional 2010 figures show that the value of mackerel to the Scottish economy was £109 million, the fleet's most valuable stock.