The ongoing row between the EU and Iceland and the Faroes over the fishing of Atlantic mackerel stocks is a matter of immediate concern for Scotland.
Highlands and Islands MSP, Jamie McGrigor has told the Scottish Parliament that this issue should be a priority for the Parliament’s Rural Affairs Committee.
Speaking in a debate on a report from the European & External Affairs Committee, of which he is a member, into the EU priorities of the Parliamentary Committees. Jamie McGrigor also raised a number of other EU issues important for the region - including EU structural funds, support for broadband and CAP reform.
The MSP has consistently supported Scotland’s pelagic fishermen, who have traditionally fished mackerel stocks in a sustainable way – but face a threat to their future with unilateral moves by Iceland and the Faroes to fish for vastly increased quantities of the stock outwith any agreed management plan.
He says: ‘I notice that on fisheries priorities, the debacle of the mackerel situation with Iceland was last discussed in the Rural Affairs committee in November 2010′.
This detachment from reality seems hard to believe, with the issue of wholesale fishing of diminishing mackerel stocks by Iceland and the Faroes the steady focus of pubic and media concern.
McGrigor says: ‘I would ask why it is not a major priority now, not only with Iceland but also the Faroes who wish to extend their catches enormously in both the mackerel stock and Atlantic herring.
‘This should be a priority for our Rural Committee as it greatly affects the sustainability of our Scottish pelagic fishing fleet and I call on them to put it high on their future agenda.’