A vote by the European Parliament today brings sanction proposals over unsustainable fishing practices a step closer.
Scottish Fisheries Secretary Richard Lochhead said:
“This is a welcome development and I hope it leads to the European Commission introducing meaningful and effective sanctions as soon as possible against states that fish unsustainably and outwith international agreements. However, past experience show that the wheels of progress turn very slowly in Europe, therefore we need the EU to demonstrate greater urgency.
“Commissioner Damanaki’s talks with Iceland and Faroes last month were unsuccessful, indicating that they are likely to once again pursue excessive mackerel quotas next year. Such flagrant irresponsible behaviour cannot continue without consequences.
“That’s why the EU must add bite to its bark, so that when the formal negotiations for a 2013 mackerel deal commence next month there is a greater incentive on the Faroes and Iceland to negotiate reasonably. We hope that a deal can be reached that will safeguard the fishery without the need for sanctions. However, if that cannot be achieved we need sanction measures available.”
In February protracted negotiations failed to secure a four-way Coastal States deal for 2012, leading to a third straight year without agreement. New mackerel talks for 2013 are set to commence in October.