In a joint statement released today, the two associations representing Scotland’s pelagic fishing fleet called on the European Commission to review Faroese access to EU waters “as a matter of urgency”.
The Scottish Pelagic Fishermen’s Association and Shetland Fishermen’s Association understand that the Faroese Parliament is on the cusp of awarding its vessels significantly higher quotas for key pelagic species without any international agreement.
“By grabbing additional quotas for species such as blue whiting and Atlanto-Scandian herring this year, Faroe continues to make a mockery of sustainable international fisheries management,” said Ian Gatt, chief executive of the Scottish Pelagic Fishermen’s Association.
“The move is unjustified by science or any pretence at agreement. How the European Commission can stand idly by while Faroe takes such an irresponsible attitude is beyond us. It needs to review access arrangements at once.”
The demand follows observations made of Faroese fishing vessels conducting false pair trawls in Scottish waters in recent days, which fishermen believe are designed to enhance the track record of boats ahead of the new quota awards.
“Having granted Faroese boats access to our waters, the least the EU could do is keep track of what they are catching, and where, with proper inspections of port control arrangements in Faroe,” said Simon Collins, executive officer of Shetland Fishermen’s Association.
“Not for the first time, we have a rogue state abusing access to our waters. The fact that these same vessels can now look forward to significantly higher quotas without any scientific justification only adds insult to injury.”