NE Scotland, Orkney & Shetland

Mackerel fishermen vow to continue blockades

Image caption The dispute began when the Faroes and Iceland declared increased catches of mackerel

Fishermen angry at increased Faroes and Iceland mackerel quotas have vowed to continue to blockade boats trying to land their catch in Scotland.

The pledge came after a meeting in Fraserburgh organised by the Scottish Pelagic Fishermen's Association and Scottish Fishermen's Federation.

It is claimed the quotas threaten stocks as well as the Scottish fleet.

SPFA chairman Iain Gatt said members were still just as determined as when a boat was blockaded last month.

The Faroese vessel, Jupiter, was blockaded by Peterhead fishermen.

Mr Gatt said after the meeting: "Scottish fishermen will continue to protest against any Faroese pelagic landings into Scotland until there has been a successful conclusion to the mackerel dispute.

"We are encouraged that the meeting between the European Commission and the Faroes at the end of last week seemed to be productive.

"It is Scotland's fisheries entitlement for mackerel that is under threat and this is why we will leave no stone unturned in our battle to ensure a fair deal is achieved."

Most valuable

Bertie Armstrong, chief executive of the SFF, added: "There is real anger on the quayside that such an important fishery to Scotland is being threatened by the irresponsible actions of Iceland and the Faroes.

"We have initiated a range of conservation measures to ensure the stock is in a healthy state and all this hard work could be undone if a resolution is not reached."

Last year mackerel brought £135m into the economy, making it the Scottish fleet's most valuable fish.

Monday's meeting was held at Fraserburgh Leisure Centre.

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