The Faroe Islands has set its quota of Atlanto-Scandian herring at 105,230 metric tons this year, around three times as much as in previous years, reports Shetnews.
The announcement follows the islands’ withdrawal from the North East Atlantic management plans for Atlanto-Scandian herring in January. It also follows the continuing breakdown of talks over joint North East Atlantic mackerel quotas.
Atlanto-Scandian herring is a much less valuable species for Scotland, which has a quota of just 8,000t out of a 619,000t total allowable catch in the North East Atlantic.
Under the old agreement the Faroese share would have been 32,000t, a quantity that does not reflect the “centre of gravity of the distribution” of the stock, according to the Faroese fishing minister Jacob Vestergaard.
“This change in the herring migration pattern has had a clear impact on the distribution and abundance of herring in Faroese waters which has resulted in an increased proportion of the population feeding in Faroese waters,” Vestergaard said.
“It is also evident that the Atlanto-Scandian herring is now in Faroese waters for a longer period than previously seen.
“I am firmly convinced that the old sharing arrangement among the coastal states regarding Atlanto-Scandian herring was and is totally unfair and not at all based on the biological reality in Faroese waters.
“What is more, I am profoundly disappointed that the other coastal states have not been willing to negotiate on a new sharing arrangement regarding Atlanto-Scandian herring, which they are legally obliged to do, according to international law, but rather have chosen to exclude the Faroe Islands from an arrangement for 2013.”
The Scottish Pelagic Fishermen’s Association described the Faroese of acting like ‘pirates’ by withdrawing from the talks.