EU discuss mackerel quotas

Iceland fishEuropean Union mackerel fishermen have held the first round of talks with EU Fisheries Commissioner Maria Damanaki over mackerel quotas issues in Brussels.

The first round of talks, which took place on Monday, will resume today (Wednesday) in London as member states try to come to an agreement with Iceland and the Faroe Islands over the ongoing mackerel quotas dispute.

The EU and Norway have been locked in a four-year-long dispute over mackerel with Iceland and the Faroese after they unilaterally raised their quotas by considerable amounts without putting an international management plan in place.

The Scottish Pelagic Fisherman’s Association’s chief executive Ian Gatt said they will inform the commissioner that because of recent research showing mackerel stock in the north-east Atlantic is in “robust health”, the EU should not rush into a deal, and any agreement reached should not compromise EU and UK fleets that have been harvesting mackerel within a sustainable management plan.

He went on to say that they will remind Damanaki that the negotiating strategy must be pursued jointly with Norway, and under no circumstances must any agreement include a provisions that would give Iceland permission to fish for mackerel in Scottish waters.