Mackerel quota wrangle talks end in stalemate

Image caption,
The aim of the talks was to try to come to an agreement over mackerel quotas

A second round of talks aimed at settling the mackerel quota row have ended without agreement.

Officials from the EU, Norway, Iceland and the Faroes have been trying to agree a deal on catch limits for 2011.

Iceland and the Faroes sparked outrage by unilaterally setting mackerel quotas in their own waters.

Scottish Fisheries Secretary Richard Lochhead said the positions of Iceland and the Faroes remained "far apart" from those of the EU and Norway.

"We will continue to explore all possible avenues in order to ensure there is sustainable management of the mackerel fishery for next year and beyond," he said.

"Our intention now is to pursue further talks with Iceland and the Faroes as soon as possible."

Ian Gatt, chief executive of the Scottish Pelagic Fishermen's Association, said: "We are bitterly disappointed that no agreement was reached during this second round, given that it proved impossible to accommodate the aspirations of Iceland and the Faroes.

"We are pleased, however, that the EU has not given in to the excessive demands from Iceland and the Faroes and has adopted a tough and realistic negotiating stance throughout."

No date has yet been set for future talks.

However, it is thought possible that negotiations could resume at the next North East Atlantic Fisheries Commission meeting due to be held in London early next month.

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