Hopes sink over mackerel fishing rights deal

TALKS aimed at securing a 2013 Coastal States mackerel agreement have stalled.

Following the repeated failure in recent years of annual negotiations between the EU, Norway, Iceland and the Faroe Islands to achieve an international mackerel fishing deal, negotiations for a 2013 deal took place this week in London, with the aim of finally putting in place a four-party agreement. A senior Scottish Government official was part of the EU delegation.

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Scottish fisheries secretary Richard Lochhead said: “We need an international deal that will see the mackerel stock sustainably fished – something that has regrettably not been the case over the past four years, with the Faroes and Iceland pursuing their own irresponsible quotas. It’s disappointing that these talks have failed to achieve a deal, which is clearly in the interests of all parties who share the fishery.”

A vote in the European Parliament in September progressed plans to make sanction measures available to the EU, for use against states that pursue unsustainable fishing practices outwith international agreements.

Until 2009, the Faroes were part of a three-way agreement with the EU and Norway. In 2012, it went against the agreement and increased its quota fivefold.