The EU says the measures may include restrictions in the imports of herring and associated species fished by Faroese interests and restrictions on the access of Faroese vessels in EU harbours except for safety reasons.
The notification from the EU is in response to the Faroese move earlier this year to withdraw from an international management plan for Atlanto-Scandian herring and set a unilateral quota at a level 145 per cent higher than their 2012 quota. This was set against a context in which all other parties to the fishery had agreed to reduce their quotas by 26 per cent for conservation reasons.
Ian Gatt, chief executive of the Scottish Pelagic Fishermen’s Association, said: “We welcome this move by the European Commission in response to the Faroese over-fishing of Atlanto-Scandian herring. The fishery is essentially a mixed one with mackerel being caught at the same time and for this reason we strongly believe that mackerel should also be included in the sanction measures. Farmed salmon should be incorporated too because they are fed with fishmeal made from both herring and mackerel.
“If these sanction measures don’t resolve the issue over a relatively short time, then they should be broadened to include all fishery products. This irresponsible and unsustainable over-fishing of our precious shared herring and mackerel stocks cannot be allowed to continue and we urge the Faroese to return to the negotiating table as soon as possible.”
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