Minister has 'major concerns' over access for Faroese

Fergus Ewing is unhappy with the amount of access for the Faroese vessels.
Fergus Ewing is unhappy with the amount of access for the Faroese vessels.

Scottish Fisheries Minister Fergus Ewing has expressed concerns over the outcome of the EU-Faroes fisheries negotiations.

Mr Ewing said he had ‘major concerns’ over the level of access for Faroese vessels for key pelagic stocks.

He said: “I know that many within Scotland’s fishing industry share my disappointment at the outcome of the EU-Faroes bilateral negotiations.

“While I am broadly content with the benefits to Scotland’s whitefish fleet in terms of quota exchanges, I have major concerns regarding the level of access for Faroese vessels for key pelagic stocks.

“The decision to rollover current arrangements on mackerel, rather than bring that back to the negotiating table is particularly concerning and goes against commitments previously made by the Commission.

“I know that Commissioner Vella shares my belief in the need for transparent and open negotiations, so I will seek to discuss with him how we move on from these negotiations to achieve that.

“Going into this week’s crucial December Council meeting in Brussels, it is absolutely vital that the UK delegation leave with the strongest possible hand, and with the interests of Scotland’s fishing sectors at heart,” he added.

Meanwhile, Secretary of State for Scotland, David Mundell, paid a visit to Peterhead Fish Market last week to give assurances on the Fisheries Bill.

Commenting on the visit, Scottish Fishermen’s Federation chief executive, Bertie Armstrong, said that the SFF welcomed the strengthening of the Fisheries Bill and the commitment of extra resources for the sector to aid the UK’s transition to an independent coastal state and beyond.

He said: “Particularly pleasing is the rejection of French President Emmanual Macron’s suggestion that existing shares of fish be maintained post-Brexit and establishment instead of a platform for annual negotiations to move towards much fairer shares.

“The industry remains adamant that there must be no link between access to UK waters and trade with the EU.

“We look forward to contributing to UK and Scottish Government consultations on allocation of additional funding,” he added.