Struan Stevenson calls for EU 'mackerel war' action

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A SCOTTISH Euro MP yesterday urged an immediate European-wide blockade of all imported goods from the Faroes and Iceland in the escalating "mackerel war" over foreign fish landings into Britain.

Pelagic fishermen from the Buchan ports of Peterhead and Fraserburgh have mounted two successful quayside blockades in Peterhead in the past two weeks to prevent Faroese trawlers from landing huge consignments of mackerel for processing at local fish factories.

And there are mounting concerns that the decision of the Faroese and Icelandic governments to set autonomous quotas for mackerel, against scientific advice, could fuel a Cod War style conflict over mackerel imports.

Struan Stevenson, the Conservative MEP, yesterday revealed that he had tabled a demand with the European Parliament, calling for an EU-wide ban on Icelandic and Faroese ships and goods in an attempt to resolve the increasingly bitter dispute.

He has written to Carmen Fraga, the president of the European Parliament's fisheries committee, calling for the Icelandic and the Faroes' fisheries ministers to be summoned to Brussels for talks.

Mr Stevenson declared: "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."

Mr Stevenson's call for action was backed yesterday by fishermen's leaders.

Ian Gatt, the chief executive 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."