Shetland pelagic fishermen have echoed demands for a substantial reduction in access for Faroese boats to European Union mackerel quota.
Prior to talks due to begin on Monday on the terms of the bilateral fisheries agreement between the European Union and Faroe for 2015, they have urged the European Commission and Member State governments to slash the share of quota the North Atlantic island’s boats can catch in EU waters.
Agreement was reached in March this year to allow Faroese boats to catch a hugely increased share of mackerel, which they claimed was now abundant in their own waters.
However, they were granted access to EU waters to catch a third of this total – 46,850 tonnes.
Simon Collins, Executive Officer of Shetland Fishermen’s Association, said: “I’ve been stopped countless times in the street by islanders outraged that the Faroese fleet has been just off our shores catching large quantities of mackerel all autumn.
“The original deal with Faroe was based on their claims – now shown to be a figment of their imagination – that their seas were awash with mackerel. Right now, the only seas awash with mackerel are around here.
“If it wants to retain any credibility as an effective body for managing fisheries, the EU must insist on a very large cut in this access quota.”
He added: “The Faroese have fisheries ministers, Europe has giveaway ministers.”
The SFA backed a statement issued earlier by the European Association of Fish Producers (EAPO) urging for a reduction in access quota.