Scottish Mackerel fleet’s quotas facing a cut of 15 per cent

SCOTLAND’S pelagic fleet is 
facing a dramatic 15 per cent cut in its mackerel catch next year – the industry’s single most valuable stock.

Richard Lochhead, the Scottish fisheries secretary, blamed the proposed cut on the continued over-fishing of the mackerel stock by Iceland and the Faroes.

Earlier this week, sanctions to penalise the continued refusal of the two Nordic nations to sign up to an international agreement on mackerel catches was agreed by the EU Fisheries Council.

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“For four years in a row now we have seen Iceland and the Faroes plundering the mackerel stock, setting their own vastly inflated quotas outwith an international agreement – and as a result putting the future of our own fleet at risk,” Mr Lochhead said.

“While Europe has finally brought forward sanction provisions, the process has taken far too long. Therefore, it is infuriating and deeply frustrating that Scottish fishermen now face the prospect of reduced quotas.”

He added: “Talks resume next month for a new mackerel deal and I hope the Faroes and Iceland finally decide to enter into reasonable negotiations. They must recognise that if they continue to ignore their responsibilities to sustainably manage the stock, it will ultimately lead to disaster for all those who rely on this valuable fishery.”