An international mediator should be appointed as a ‘game changer’ to help end the fisheries stalemate with Iceland and the Faroe Islands.
That was the call from Scotland’s Fisheries Secretary Richard Lochhead ahead of the EU Fisheries Council in Brussels.
The Cabinet Secretary will stress that a game changing move as well as long called-for sanctions are required to finally bring an end to the three year dispute with Iceland and the Faroe Islands which is jeopardizing the future sustainability of fish stocks and, in turn, the livelihoods of Scottish fishermen.
Mr Lochhead said:
“The Scottish Government has been at the forefront in calling for sanctions against both the Faroe Islands and Iceland in response to their irresponsible setting of unilateral quotas, which between them amount to almost half the scientifically recommended total.
“We continue to press for sanctions to help bring all countries back to the table – but if the impasse is to be broken, this ‘table’ might have to look different. I would therefore be willing to support new approaches if that will help deliver a resolution to this long-stagnant dispute.
“I want sanctions in place that help Iceland and the Faroe Islands realize they can’t get away with overfishing international stocks – stocks that are only healthy due to other countries’ responsible measures. International fisheries negotiations can’t work on the basis that some countries manage a stock only for others to take advantage.
“But beyond that we need all players involved in this fishery – not only the EU and Norway but also the other countries with an interest, including Iceland and the Faroe Islands – to agree a management plan that will safeguard this stock. To get to this point I believe we now need to appoint a neutral chair to move us forward.
“The appointment of an international mediator could help broker an agreement to end this dispute in an objective and neutral fashion.
“I call on my fellow Fishing Ministers to seriously consider this proposal and I will be writing to the EU Fisheries Commissioner, Maria Damanaki, seeking her views.”
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