With mackerel being one of the topics on the agenda for discussion at tomorrow’s (13 May) European Fish Council meeting in Brussels, Scottish fishermen are urging the European Commission to use the occasion to finally impose sanctions against Iceland and the Faroes for their continuing and significant over-fishing of the north-east Atlantic mackerel stock.
While measures for trade sanctions on imports of certain fishery products from Iceland and the Faroes have already been agreed upon, the EC has yet to actually implement the plan. The Scottish Pelagic Fishermen’s Association (SPFA) says the time for ‘heel dragging’ is over and the EC must act now, especially since the mackerel catching season is about to begin.
Ian Gatt, SPFA chief executive, said: “We are becoming increasingly exasperated by the failure of the EU to impose sanctions and it is extremely disappointing that they are dragging their feet on this issue.
“This dispute has dragged on now for four years and we are still no nearer reaching a fair and equitable deal due to the intransigence of Iceland and the Faroes. At tomorrow’s Council meeting, it is vital that the Scottish and UK fisheries ministers press the Commission to impose a sanctions package.
“The introduction of sanctions would send a clear and unequivocal message that the actions of Iceland and the Faroes will not be tolerated by the responsible international community. We believe that the imposition of sanctions would help focus minds and provide the spur that ensures Iceland and the Faroes return to the negotiating table so as to reach a fair and balanced deal.”