NE Scotland, Orkney & Shetland

Faroes mackerel quota 'used up' despite sanction threat

Image caption Scottish fishermen say they have concerns about mackerel stocks

The Faroese government has said it has now taken all of its self-declared quota of mackerel for the year, despite threats of sanctions from the EU.

Scottish fishermen have been calling for action for more than a year amid fears for stock sustainability.

BBC Scotland told last week how patrols between Scotland and the Faroe Islands had been stepped up amid fears of illegal fishing.

Faroese Fisheries Minister Johan Dahl said that was a matter for Scotland.

Scottish Fisheries Secretary Richard Lochhead said last week efforts had to be made to ensure no illegal fishing.

Mr Dahl said: "We have always valued the active co-operation our fisheries inspection service has with their Scottish colleagues.

"So I find it extremely disappointing to see that Mr Lochhead seems to be suggesting that the Faroese authorities do not take a responsible and responsive approach to the monitoring and control of our own fisheries, including mackerel fisheries.

"As Scottish authorities should be well aware, no Faroese vessels are licensed to fish mackerel in the zones of other nations, including UK waters.

"The Faroese fisheries inspection is responsible for ensuring that Faroese vessels abide by the terms of their licences, which limit fishing to the Faroese fishery zone."

'Balanced dialogue'

He added: "While we do not yet agree on the multilateral management of the mackerel stock that we share with Scotland and others, I do not believe this continued confrontational approach being taken by the Scottish authorities serves the interests of a balanced dialogue that is needed in order for us to move the negotiations on mackerel forward."

Ian Gatt, from the Scottish Pelagic Fishermen's Association, said the Faroes had been reckless.

Spotter planes and ships from Marine Scotland are making regular patrols of the stretch of water, up to 180 miles (290km) north of the Shetland Islands.

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