NE Scotland, Orkney & Shetland

Richard Lochhead calls for mackerel sanctions

Image caption Mackerel is the most valuable stock to Scotland's fishing fleet

Sanctions against Iceland and the Faroes in the dispute over mackerel quotas are needed soon, Fisheries Minister Richard Lochhead has said.

The wrangle began when the two counties set their own quotas after failing to reach a deal with the EU and Norway.

In March, EU action on the matter was said to be "imminent".

Mr Lochhead said: "The onset of the mackerel fishing season means there is now an urgent need to apply these measures without delay."

Iceland and the Faroes have argued that climate change has led to more mackerel moving north into their waters in recent years.

Mr Lochhead said: "Disregard for conservation cannot be allowed to threaten the sustainability of Scotland's most valuable catch.

"These sanctions need to happen alongside continuation of talks to put in place a new international agreement for the mackerel stock."

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