Scots fishermen angered as mackerel talks stall again

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Scottish fishermen have expressed their extreme disappointment after the breakdown in talks in Edinburgh this week to try and reach an agreement on mackerel allocations in the north-east Atlantic.

Following a series of negotiations in recent weeks, it was thought that the main parties (EU, Norway, Iceland and the Faroes) were moving towards an agreement.

But the recent move by Greenland to set itself an autonomous quota for mackerel this year, resulted in the talks becoming stalled.

Ian Gatt, chief executive of the Scottish Pelagic Fishermen’s Association, said: “We are very disappointed by this latest development, which has thrown a new dimension into the dispute.

“However, it is important that the complex issue of the new Greenland autonomous quota, and what it means for the other coastal states, is resolved in a satisfactory way.”

Bertie Armstrong, chief executive of the Scottish Fishermen’s Federation, said: “The absence of an agreement after four years is a real disappointment.

“The remaining important catching opportunity negotiations between the EU and Norway are now that much more difficult and where there are still big priorities for Scottish fishing to be met, such as North Sea haddock, cod, saithe and herring.

“The breakdown in the mackerel talks also means there will be no access into Faroese waters for Scottish boats.”

Echoing their dispapointment was Scottish Fisheries Secretary Richard Lochhead who commented: “It is very disappointing that a deal couldn’t be reached.

“This seemed like the best chance in a while to get a deal done and the longer this continues the greater the uncertainty faced by our fishermen. Every country involved in these talks have a responsibility to our fishermen to try and break this deadlock as soon as possible.”