Scotland scores win in mackerel war

Sept. 13, 2012 at 8:17 AM

EDINBURGH, Scotland, Sept. 13 (UPI) -- The Scottish government expressed cautious optimism after the European Parliament backed a measure for sanctions for unsustainable fishing practices.

The European Parliament voted in favor of sanctions against Iceland and the Faroe Islands on charges they were over-fishing mackerel. The Scottish government has said Iceland and the Faroe Islands are taking on more mackerel than their internationally agreed upon share.

Scottish Fisheries Secretary Richard Lochhead said he welcomed the development, saying the government hoped it would lead to meaningful action.

"However, past experience show that the wheels of progress turn very slowly in Europe, therefore we need the European Union to demonstrate greater urgency," he said in a statement.

Formal negotiations over mackerel are expected in 2013. Lochhead said the European Union needs to "add bite to its bark" over the debate.

EU Fisheries Secretary Maria Damanaki had said sustainable management of fish stocks throughout the world would ensure a productive industry.

Mackerel is the most valuable fishery stock for Scotland. Edinburgh said coastal states have a right to a share of the mackerel catch but said unilateral action could hurt long-term sustainability.

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