No 2012 Mackerel deal

A final chance to put in place a deal to ensure mackerel is sustainably fished has failed to secure international agreement.

Scottish Fisheries Secretary Richard Lochhead has warned that a third straight year wihout agreement is a dangerous strategy that is risking the future.

A final round of 2012 talks concluded in Reykjavik today, with Faroe Islands and Iceland failing to show movement and come to an agreement with the EU and Norway.

Mr Lochhead said: “It is deeply disappointing and enormously frustrating that we are facing another year without a mackerel deal. The lack of progress this week has been very worrying, with the Faroes in particular demonstrating a lack of willing to reach a deal. We now expect Faroes and Iceland will continue with grossly inflated quotas that are all about short-term selfish gain.

“We recognise mackerel stocks are currently present in seas further west and Iceland has a right to a share. However, it’s unacceptable to opportunistically pursue these massive quotas. The Faroes, meanwhile, don’t even have the capacity to catch so many mackerel.

“If overfishing continues, we face the prospect of the mackerel stock falling below safe limits by 2014. That’s why we need the EU to fast-track plans for sanctions against any country engaging in unsustainable fishing outwith international agreements. We cannot allow a stock that Scottish fishing communities have relied upon for generations to be recklessly plundered. This impasse must come to an end by some means, to secure this fishery for decades to come.”

In 2010 mackerel was Scotland’s most valuable catch, worth £113 million to the Scottish economy.