Mackerel certification failure welcomed

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Scottish fishermen have welcomed the failure of a bid by the Faroe Islands to seek Marine Stewardship Council certification for their mackerel fishery.

The Scottish Government had lodged an objection to the Faroese application to have their mackerel fishery independently certified as being sustainable because of their decision to set a massively increased unilateral quota for 2010, which was three times larger than their previous share.

Ian Gatt, chief executive of the Scottish Pelagic Fishermen’s Association: “We welcome the Scottish Government’s intervention and are pleased that their objection has been upheld.

“This will send a strong message to the Faroese that their irresponsible actions will not be tolerated because it threatens the sustainability of an important fishery that has been carefully nurtured by Scotland.

“It will also help consumers make informed choices so that they can ensure their mackerel purchases only come from sustainable fisheries such as that responsibly harvested by Scotland.

“We fully support the exacting MSC standard and its tough accreditation scheme where fisheries are extensively scrutinised.

“It is only right that if a fishery fails to make the standard that it should be exempted from certification.”

Commenting on the decision, Scottish Fisheries Secretary Richard Lochhead said: “We are pleased that our objection has been upheld, as it is clear that the Faroes is in breach of the criteria to be considered a sustainably sourced fishery.

“This sends a strong signal to the Faroes that pursuing irresponsible fishing practices and grabbing an inflated share of the mackerel stock is unsustainable and no way to manage international fish stocks.”