RICHARD Lochhead, the Scottish Fisheries Secretary, has called for immediate sanctions to be imposed on the Faroes after representatives of the island’s government walked out on talks to set new catch quotas for the North Atlantic herring fishery.
The Faroese and Icelandic governments are already facings sanctions over their refusal to take part in an international agreement on the division of quotas for North Atlantic mackerel stocks.
Following the walk out, Mr Lochhead declared that the “irresponsible” actions of the Faroe Islands on fishing should be tackled immediately by the European Union and sanctions imposed.
At the talks an agreement on new catch quotas for the Atlanto Scandian Herring fishery was agreed by representatives of the EU, Norway, Russia and Iceland, with senior Scottish officials representing Scottish interests.
A Scottish Government spokesman said: “These talks did not include the mackerel quota that was agreed last week. Atlanto Scandian Herring Total Allowable Catch has been reduced by 26 per cent to 619,000 tonnes. The UK share is 8,827 tonnes.”
Mr Lochhead said: “This agreement is further proof of the responsible approach taken by Scotland to sustainable fishing and provides assurance for the stock throughout 2013 and beyond.
“However, it is a huge disappointment that the Faroes have walked away from these talks – this situation has been going on for far too long and cannot continue. By continually choosing to ignore international agreements and set their own unacceptable quotas the Faroes are jeopardising the future of vital fishing stocks – and in turn the livelihood of our fishermen who have already had to face years of tough restrictions to ensure the health of the stocks and the survival of their industry.
“The health of fish stocks should not suffer due to this continued reckless attitude. I call on the EU to make use of their available powers to introduce sanctions against the Faroe Islands.”