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Scotland wants to break mackerel impasse

  |   March 10, 2011 at 8:08 AM
EDINBURGH, Scotland, March 10 (UPI) -- Scotland wants a four-way deal on mackerel quotas but won't do so at any cost, the Scottish fisheries secretary said.

European lawmakers have complained that Iceland and the autonomous Danish Faroe Islands are exploiting European accomplishments in the management of mackerel stocks.

Iceland walked away from mackerel talks with Europe in November and a delegation from the Faroe Islands left the negotiating table in mid December.

Scottish Fisheries Secretary Richard Lochhead said Scottish fishing vessels were denied access to Faroese waters because there isn't an agreement in place for 2011.

"This demonstrates the wider effect that a lack of agreement is having and a new international deal for the mackerel stock is in everyone's interests," he said in a statement.

Lochhead added that Edinburgh's top priority was reaching a deal during new talks with Icelandic, Faroese and European officials. "However, an agreement can't come at any cost and we will seek a fair and justifiable outcome," he added.

He said Icelandic quotas are "deeply worrying." The Icelandic government unilaterally increased its catch proposals for 2011 from about 128,000 tons to around 145,000 tons.

Mackerel fishing was worth $210 million to Scotland last year.

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