Lib Dem MEP warns of threat of ‘mackerel war’ with Iceland

A 'mackerel war' with Iceland threatens the future of Scottish fishermen, a Liberal Democrat MEP has warned on a visit to Shetland.

The chair of the European Parliament's fisheries committee, Liberal Democrat MEP Chris Davies, was in Shetland to discuss the situation following Iceland and Greenland announced unilateral increases in the amount of the fish they intend to catch.

The European Commission has swung to the defence of the fishermen, denouncing the decision and raising the threat that the EU may introduce sanctions unless cooperation is restored.

A senior Commission official had told the Icelandic government that its action "demonstrates a lack of interest in contributing to the sustainable management of the stock."

Mr Davies today met the Shetland Fishermen's Association to listen to their concerns alongside local MP Alistair Carmichael and Shetland’s Liberal Democrat candidate for the Scottish Parliament, Beatrice Wishart.

Speaking after the meeting, Chris Davies said:

"Partnership is essential if shared fish stocks are to be managed sustainably. Iceland's actions are greedy and irresponsible. They are not those of a friendly nation, let alone of a country that is part of the European economic area.

"I welcome the fact that, despite all the talk of Brexit, the European Commission is acting strongly in defence of Scottish fishermen, and I will ensure that this issue is debated as soon as the European Parliament meets again."

Shetland’s Liberal Democrat candidate for the Scottish Parliament, Beatrice Wishart, added:

“It was good to have the chair of the European Parliament's fisheries committee in Shetland to hear about the relationship with Iceland over mackerel stocks.

“His determination that the Commission follow through on their strong rhetoric when it comes to Iceland is exactly the reassurances our fishing community needs.

“This is enormously important to Shetland. We already know all too well the consequences of a deal done badly, not least because we have had to live with consequences of the last one.

“As Shetland’s MSP, I would continue to work with Chris Davies to ensure the concerns of Shetland’s fishing community is heard both in the European Parliament and at the heart of the Commission.”

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