The EC has said it would remove trade sanctions against the Faroes that were implemented last year in response to their unsustainable fishing practices for herring, which resulted in the Faroese setting a unilateral quota of around four times their traditional share (105,000 tonnes).
But now the Faroe Islands has announced a quota level for herring at 40,000 tonnes for 2014, which while lower than last year’s catch, is still double the figure they should be allocated under the previous Coastal States agreement.
Ian Gatt, chief executive of the Scottish Pelagic Fishermen’s Association, said: “It seems if you catch four times your quota then there will be retribution, but if that is reduced to doubling your allocation, then that is classified as a sustainable fishing practice. It really drives a coach and horse through the concept of sustainable fisheries management. The UK has a very small 8,000 tonnes allocation, so are the EU also now proposing we are allocated an additional 8,000 tonnes?
“The Faroe Islands will now go to the negotiations at the end of this year with an expectation of increasing its herring share from 5 to 10 per cent of the total allowable catch for 2015. We also wonder what the status is of herring and mackerel caught by Faroese vessels last year while the sanctions were in place and which are now lying in cold stores in the Faroe Islands? Will they too become exempt from the sanctions?
“We also know that the Norwegians are not pleased that the EC, once again, has taken unilateral steps to resolve unsustainable fishing practices without involving other states involved in the fishery. We urge both the Scottish and UK Governments to oppose with the strongest vigour this EC proposal to lift sanctions against the Faroese.”