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EU To Be Represented At Mackerel Conference


EU - The European Parliament Fisheries Committee will be represented at the international mackerel conference in the Faroe Islands next week where concerns over Faroese and Icelandic mackerel quotas will be highlighted.

Scottish Fisheries Secretary Richard Lochhead said: "I welcome the European Parliament's strong statement on the unacceptable overfishing of mackerel by the Icelandic and Faroese fleets. I will be writing to the Committee in advance of the meeting in the Faroe Islands to highlight our concerns and how this issue could impact on the Scottish fleet and Scotland's fishing communities.

"I am working closely with Commissioner Damanaki and the UK Fisheries Minister to ensure a resolution is found. We cannot be held to ransom and I believe an early meeting between the European Commission and Iceland and the Faroes will be vital. We need everyone back around the negotiating table and to come to a reasonable agreement as soon as possible."

At the end of July the Faroe Islands set a quota for mackerel of 85,000 tonnes for this year, more than three times their previous total allowable catch (TAC), which follows a recent decision by Iceland to declare themselves a quota of 130,000 tonnes and could destabilise global mackerel stocks.

Scotland has the first large-scale mackerel fishery in Europe to be accredited by the Marine Stewardship Council. In 2009 the value to the Scottish economy of mackerel was £135 million - the fleet's most valuable stock.