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Fishermen Encouraged By EC Stance On Mackerel Dispute

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SCOTLAND, UK - The Scottish Fishermens Federation has welcomed the strong signal of intent that the EC gave at the AgriFish Council in Brussels, that it will adopt a tough approach if Iceland and the Faroes fail to agree a deal on international mackerel quotas.

A meeting between the EU, Norway, Iceland and the Faroes to try and find a resolution to the mackerel dispute is scheduled for 12 October in London.

The EC was given a mandate by member states at today’s Council to try and reach a satisfactory agreement with Iceland and the Faroes on mackerel. The EC also signalled that it will not be a soft touch during the talks and will adopt a tough negotiating approach.

If no deal is achieved at next month’s talks, then the EC indicated that it would press for sanctions against Iceland and the Faroese along similar lines to those already imposed by Norway. It is thought this could mean a ban on the import of Faroese and Icelandic mackerel into the EU. Other penalties could include the refusal to negotiate bilateral catch agreements with Iceland and the Faroes on other north-east Atlantic fisheries.

Scotland’s mackerel fishermen were represented in Brussels by Ian Gatt of the Scottish Pelagic Fishermen’s Association, which is a constituent member of the SFF.

Mr Gatt said: “We wanted the EC today to give a clear message to Iceland and the Faroes that there will be serious implications if a satisfactory deal is not reached at next month’s talks, and we are pleased that they seem to be adopting a tough stance.

“We also welcome the fact that Scottish Fisheries Minister Richard Lochhead was allowed to speak at today’s Council meeting so as to give a sound perspective of how important this issue is to Scotland. The UK Government should be congratulated for allowing this to happen and for recognising that this issue is more important than party politics.”