Annual European fishing talks get under way

Mackerel Scottish fishing leaders say there cannot be any more cuts

The annual round of European fisheries negotiations has got under way with Scottish industry leaders expressing concern about cuts.

There are proposals to reduce the number of days boats are allowed at sea to fish.

Scottish fishermen claim that would mean they would only be allowed to operate on four days per fortnight.

Scottish Fisheries Secretary Richard Lochhead said he would fight hard for improvements.

Meanwhile, mackerel fishermen welcomed what they said was a commitment by Fisheries Commissioner Maria Damanaki that negotiations in January were the last chance for Faroes and Iceland to avoid sanctions.

The countries have provoked anger by announcing their own quotas.

Ian Gatt, chief executive of the Scottish Pelagic Fishermen's Association, said: "If no agreement is reached at the next round of talks in January, then Iceland and the Faroes will have to recognise that they will no longer have full access for the trade of their fish products into the crucially important European market.

"Hopefully, this will provide the spur for Iceland and the Faroes to reach a fair and balanced deal."

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