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Scottish MEP Calls For Ban On Iceland/ Faroe Imports


SCOTLAND, UK - Scottish MEP Struan Stevenson has called for an immediate EU-wide blockade of Icelandic and Faroese ships and goods as a row over mackerel quotas escalates.

He has championed the cause of Scotland’s fishermen by writing to the President of the European Parliament’s Fisheries Committee, Carmen Fraga, calling for Iceland and the Faroes’ fisheries ministers to be summoned to Brussels for talks.

If they refuse, Mr Stevenson has offered to travel with Ms Fraga at the head of a delegation to Torshavn and Reykjavik. In the meantime, he has demanded a ban on Icelandic and Faroese vessels using EU ports and on all imports from the two North Atlantic island nations.

His actions have been welcomed by Scottish fishing groups.

The move has been prompted by Iceland and the Faroe Islands’ refusal to back down after massively increasing their mackerel quotas to 130,000 tonnes and 85,000 tonnes respectively.

He says that the amounts fly in the face of scientific advice and international agreements and could lead to serious over-fishing, causing immense damage to the Scottish fishing industry.

Mr Stevenson said: “Iceland and the Faroes are acting just like their Viking ancestors, only this time it’s our mackerel they're plundering.

“So far they have obstinately refused to bring their quotas back down to sensible levels, so I believe the EU must apply maximum pressure to bring them back to the table.

“I have written to Carmen Fraga MEP, President of the Fisheries Committee, calling on her to invite the Icelandic and Faroese fisheries ministers for talks with our Committee in Brussels, or alternatively that she and I lead a delegation to Torshavn and Reykjavik.

“But in the meantime, we should play hardball by closing EU ports to their vessels and banning all imports from both countries. They need to understand the serious repercussions of this selfish and short-sighted action.”

Ian Gatt, CEO of the Scottish Pelagic Fishermen’s Association, said: “Scottish pelagic fishermen are delighted that Struan Stevenson has taken this proactive initiative. Europe must act now to protect Scotland’s most valuable fishery resource. Norway has taken the lead by prohibiting Faroese and Icelandic mackerel catches from entering their country - the Commission must reciprocate this action immediately.

“The mackerel stock has been sustainably managed for many years ensuring that all those involved in the fishery have benefited. The actions of Iceland and the Faroe Islands could undo all the good work in a matter of months. We hope Carmen Fraga endorses the request of Struan Stevenson so negotiation talks can commence as soon as possible.”

Bertie Armstrong, Chief Executive of the Scottish Fishermen’s Federation, said: "The actions of Iceland and Faroes amount to an abandonment of rational fisheries management. This simply cannot be tolerated by the other states with an interest in continued sustainable catching of mackerel.

“The problems can be solved properly by Iceland and the Faroes returning forthwith to the limits of existing international agreements and nothing less."