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Scottish Leaders Meet Icelandic Ambassador

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SCOTLAND, UK - Bertie Armstrong, chief executive of the Scottish Fishermen's Federation and Ian Gatt, chief executive of the Scottish Pelagic Fishermen's Association, met this morning with the Icelandic Ambassador to the UK, Mr Benedikt Jonsson, to discuss the current mackerel dispute.

At the Aberdeen meeting, which was instigated by the Ambassador and organised by Colin Crosby the Icelandic Consul in Aberdeen, the main topic for discussion was the acutely difficult and unresolved issue of the international management of the North East Atlantic mackerel stock - specifically Iceland's approach of catching a significantly increased quota this year outwith the bounds of any international agreement.

Neither the Ambassador nor the fishing leaders were there to negotiate a solution, but the discussion was useful in providing clarity to the Ambassador of the Scottish industry's strong views on the issue, which reflect those of the EU and Norway in the negotiations.

Speaking after the meeting, Ian Gatt said: "The vital importance of a sustainable mackerel fishery to the Scottish pelagic fleet and the communities it supports was spelled out to Mr Jonsson. Frank views were also exchanged on what constitutes responsible management of this stock".

Mr Armstrong added: "It was very useful to meet an Icelandic representative at Mr Jonsson's level. Clearly, a gap remains between viewpoints but at least we all agreed that an even-handed solution to the dispute is in the best interests of all.

“The end result must protect the interests of the current stakeholders of the mackerel fishery, of which the Scottish fleet is a major player.”