Fishermen welcome Faroese moves

Scottish pelagic fishermen have welcomed the announcement by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC)that certification of the Faroese Atlanto-Scandian herring fishery has been suspended.

Herring caught by Faroese boats from June 21 onwards cannot be described or sold as MSC certified or carry the MSC ecolabel. The suspension has been put in place because of the decision by the Faroese earlier this year to withdraw from a long-standing international management agreement for Atlanto-Scandian herring and unilaterally treble their quota to 105,000 tonnes.

This was set against a context in which all other parties to the fishery had agreed to reduce their quotas by 26% for conservation reasons. Furthermore, despite the Faroese withdrawal from the management plan, the other countries participating in the fishery still set aside the normal share for Faroes (33,000 tonnes). At present, the suspension has no effect on other MSC certified Atlanto-Scandian herring fisheries.

As well as herring, the Faroes (along with Iceland) is engaged in a long standing international dispute caused by their overfishing of the north-east Atlantic mackerel stock outwith an international management agreement

Ian Gatt, chief executive of the Scottish Pelagic Fishermen’s Association, said: “We welcome this move to suspend MSC certification of Faroese caught Atlanto-Scandian herring. Their reckless actions by walking away from international negotiations and then massively increasing their quota should not go unpunished.”