The latest unilateral move by Faroe to decide its annual herring catch and a Brussels’ climb-down over trade sanctions against the country have caused an outcry.
Faroe has in recent years set its own quotas for Atlanto-Scandian herring and north-east Atlantic mackerel in defiance of efforts to broker international deals for the shared stocks.
The country signed up to an agreement for mackerel earlier this year.
But it has again gone ahead and decided its own larger-than-expected catch limit for herring.
The move came just a day after the European Commission (EC) announced plans for an end to trade sanctions against Faroe and its “unsustainable” fishing.
Scottish Pelagic Fishermen’s Association chief executive Ian Gatt said the Nordic country’s 40,000-tonne quota for 2014 was lower than last year but still double what it should be.
He added: “It seems if you catch four times your quota then there will be retribution but if that is reduced to doubling your allocation, then that is classified as a sustainable fishing practice.
“It really drives a coach and horse through the concept of sustainable fisheries management.
“The UK has a very small 8,000 tonnes allocation, so is the EU also now proposing we are allocated an additional 8,000 tonnes?
“The Faroe Islands will now go to the negotiations at the end of this year with an expectation of increasing its herring share from 5 to 10% of the total allowable catch for 2015.”
“We urge both the Scottish and UK Governments to oppose with the strongest vigour this EC proposal to lift sanctions against the Faroese.”
Scottish Liberal Democrat fisheries spokesman and Shetland MSP Tavish Scott said Faroe had been let off the hook.
He added: “They have been rewarded for illegal fishing on mackerel and will now do exactly the same on other species.
“This is a mess entirely of the European Commission’s own making.”
Last year, Faroe gave itself an annual herring quota more than three times larger than its traditional share.
The increase prompted a European Union ban on imports of Atlanto-Scandian herring and mackerel from the country, while boats carrying its fish were barred from EU ports.