UK Fisheries Minister Richard Benyon recruited another ally today to support Britain’s efforts to ensure that Mackerel stocks in the North Sea remain healthy whilst allowing fishermen to continue to fish a sensible amount in the area.
In a meeting with Scottish Fisheries Minister Richard Lochhead and Simon Coveney TD, the Republic of Ireland’s Minister for Agriculture, Food, and Marine, both the UK and Ireland agreed that to maintain both healthy stocks and the livelihoods of fishermen, Iceland and the Faroe Islands should reduce the quotas they unilaterally awarded themselves or face sanctions.
Speaking from the EU Agriculture and Fisheries Council meeting in Luxembourg Richard Benyon said:
”I want to reach an agreement with Iceland and the Faroese but if they continue to fish at the same level as they’re doing this year then the stock could be in danger as early as 2014 - we cannot allow that to happen.
“Mackerel is vitally important to the Scottish fleet in particular, and it’s not right that they should lose out when they have played by the rules. We had a very constructive meeting with the Irish delegation this morning, who feel the same as we do that if Iceland and the Faroe Islands don’t stop taking more than their fair share then the sanctions proposed by the Commission must be considered as soon as possible.”