14 January 2011

Stevenson Welcomes Strong EU Stance On Mackerel Dispute

Banff & Buchan MSP Stewart Stevenson has welcomed moves by the EU to ban the landing of Icelandic mackerel into ports across Europe as a result of Iceland’s continued refusal to reach international agreement on Mackerel quotas. Iceland and the Faroe Islands took the decision to unilaterally award themselves massive increase in Mackerel quotas, Scotland’s most valuable catch.

Mackerel holds Marine Stewardship Council certification thanks in large part to the sustainability measures put in place by Scotland’s Pelagic fleet, yet the sustainability of the fishery could now be put at severe risk thanks to Iceland and the Faroe Island’s reckless actions. Norway has already taken the decision to ban Icelandic Mackerel and with the EU following suit, a strong message will be sent to Iceland that such behaviour is unacceptable.

Commenting, Mr Stevenson said:

“I welcome the fact that Europe is taking a tough stance and is closing its ports to Icelandic Mackerel. The actions of Iceland and the Faroe Islands in unilaterally awarding themselves such unreasonably large quotas is totally unacceptable and it is right that the EU is taking action.

“This landing ban in itself is by no means a solution to the problem, but it does send an important message to Iceland that their actions will not be tolerated. I sincerely hope it will bring them back to the negotiating table and make them see that there is a clear need to reach a fair agreement.

“Their unilateral actions threaten the sustainability of the species and puts Banff & Buchan’s pelagic fleet in danger of financial ruin. The EU is right to take strong action and must continue to stand behind Scotland’s pelagic fishing fleet.”
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