Mackerel fishermen and processors are calling upon the EU to reduce current access arrangements for Faroese vessels to catch mackerel in Scottish waters.
The Scottish Pelagic Fishermen’s Association (SPFA) claim that a bilateral deal struck between the EU and Faroe in 2014 is “heavily skewed” towards the interests of the self-governing archipelago.
The fishermen are urging for a “fairer” agreement to be negotiated as the industry prepares for talks in Brussels in December to finalise the EU/Faroe bilateral agreement for 2017.
The fishermen point to a report published by industry body Seafish which reveals that in 2015 Faroese boats caught almost 33,000 tonnes of mackerel in EU (mainly Scottish) waters, compared to Scottish boats landing no mackerel at all from Faroese waters.
Ian Gatt, chief executive of the SPFA, said: “We want the new agreement for 2017 to ensure there is a reduction in the access arrangements for the Faroese to fish their quota for mackerel in our waters.
“There is a distinct lack of benefit to the UK, along with the additional costs of monitoring and enforcing Faroese access into our waters.”
Ian McFadden of the Scottish Pelagic Processors Association said: “We are extremely concerned about the current access arrangements because the quality of mackerel is better in our waters. Furthermore, Faroese boats are financially penalised by their own Government if they land this mackerel into Scotland.
“This means that Faroese processors are benefiting from fish caught in Scottish seas to the detriment of our own processing industry based in Shetland and the north-east of Scotland.”