NE Scotland, Orkney & Shetland

Faroese sustainable mackerel bid blocked

Mackerel catch
Image caption Quotas set by the Faroes and Iceland have angered other fishing nations

An objection to the Faroes bid to have its mackerel fishery certified as sustainable has been upheld by the Marine Stewardship Council.

Scottish fishing leaders said the move sent a strong message to the Faroese.

The Scottish government objected to the move after the Faroes unilaterally increased its catch quota last year.

The MSC said the fishery was managed well, but Faroese inability to agree quota sharing with Norway and the EU stopped certification being granted.

'Responsible fishing'

Chief executive of the Scottish Pelagic Fishermen's Association Ian Gatt said: "This will send a strong message to the Faroese that their irresponsible actions will not be tolerated because it threatens the sustainability of an important fishery that has been carefully nurtured by Scotland.

"It will also help consumers make informed choices so that they can ensure their mackerel purchases only come from sustainable fisheries, such as that responsibly harvested by Scotland."

Scottish Fisheries Secretary Richard Lochhead said: "We are pleased that our objection has been upheld, as it is clear that the Faroes is in breach of the criteria to be considered a sustainably sourced fishery.

"This sends a strong signal to the Faroes that pursuing irresponsible fishing practices and grabbing an inflated share of the mackerel stock is unsustainable and no way to manage international fish stocks.

"This latest development once again illustrates that the Faroes should come back to the negotiating table."

Mackerel is the Scottish fleet's most valuable stock.

The Faroes has tripled its usual entitlement to 85,000 tonnes, while Iceland, which landed very little mackerel before 2006, has allocated itself a 130,000-tonne quota for the year.

The countries argue that the mackerel stock has gravitated north in recent years but fishing leaders have condemned the move, warning it could could be "disastrous" for the Scottish fleet.

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