Anger as Faroese mackerel boats encroach on Shetland waters
October 30th 2015
With the autumn mackerel fishery well under way, Shetland Fishermen’s Association is calling for Marine Scotland to maintain a level playing field for all boats operating in EU waters.
Amid claims that a Faroese vessel was fishing within Shetland’s 12-mile limit earlier this week, SFA executive officer Simon Collins said: “We are urging Marine Scotland Compliance to enforce the rules fairly.
“It would be outrageous if Faroese boats were catching fish within our 12-mile limit and not being held to account.”
Feelings remain very raw among Shetland pelagic fishermen over the two-year-old deal which allowed Faroese vessels back into EU waters to catch mackerel.
Agreement was reached against a backdrop of large unilateral increases in mackerel quota by Faroe which they claimed reflected huge growth in stocks around the islands.
Faroese vessels caught just over 15,000 tonnes of mackerel in 2009. By 2014 that figure had increased tenfold to 150,000 tonnes.
Yet between 2013 and 2014 the amount caught in Faroese waters slumped from just over 35,000 tonnes to 7,900 tonnes.
Meanwhile, as a result of the deal, the amount of mackerel caught by Faroese boats in the North Sea and Kattegat increased from 376 tonnes to more than 46,000 tonnes.
Mr Collins added: “Shetland’s fishermen remain dumfounded at the scale of the EU’s giveaway to Faroe, which of course was backed enthusiastically by both the UK and Scottish governments.
“We demand a fairer deal when these international agreements come up for renewal, and another look at Faroese access arrangements at the earliest opportunity.”