Written Questions: Mackerel Fishing (June 2012)

To ask the Scottish Executive what assistance it has given to fish producer organisations affected by the reported lack of access to waters around the Faroe Islands for mackerel fishing.

Answered by Richard Lochhead (25/06/2012): The absence of an agreement between the EU and the Faroe Islands for mutual access to fishing waters has caused a number of significant disruptions to the Scottish fishing industry. Most importantly, the setting of unilateral and excessive quotas by the Faroe Islands (and Iceland) places the long term sustainability of the mackerel stock in jeopardy. At present, however, Scottish vessels prosecuting the mackerel fishery in EU waters are able to access significant fishing opportunities. The provisional UK 2012 allocation of mackerel is over 130,000 tonnes, and this will be adjusted upwards when final allocations are made.
Current Status: Answered by Richard Lochhead on 25/06/2012
To ask the Scottish Executive what the value is of the returned quotas that have been allocated to the Scottish Fishermen’s Organisation and the (a) Orkney, (b) Shetland and (c) Lunar fish producer organisations.

Answered by Richard Lochhead (25/06/2012): The value of any fish quota, in terms of the price per tonne achieved at first sale, can fluctuate considerably in light of prevailing market conditions. Any estimate of value can therefore only be an approximation. Noting this level of uncertainty, the table below shows the approximate value of quotas allocated to the Fish Producer Organisations noted there. These estimates are based on average first sale prices in 2011.

Producer Organisation Value allocated (£ millions)
Scottish Fishermen’s Organisation 2.12
Orkney FPO 0.20
Shetland FPO 0.23
Lunar FPO 0.02
Current Status: Answered by Richard Lochhead on 25/06/2012
To ask the Scottish Executive whether returned quotas that are allocated to the Scottish Fishermen’s Organisation and the (a) Orkney, (b) Shetland and (c) Lunar fish producer organisations are directed to the producer organisations or to specific vessels.

Answered by Richard Lochhead (25/06/2012): Allocations of fish quota are made to Fish Producer Organisations. In the case of the quotas that were reserved by the European Union to facilitate a mutual access agreement with the Faroe Islands (where agreement was not reached and therefore quotas will be returned to EU member states) allocations have been made to producer organisations with member vessels that have fished in Faroese waters in recent years (2009 and 2010). The purpose of the allocation is therefore to provide assistance to producer organisations with members active in the Faroese fishery. It is for producer organisations to decide how to make that assistance available to individual members.
Current Status: Answered by Richard Lochhead on 25/06/2012
To ask the Scottish Executive when the returned quotas that have been allocated to the Scottish Fishermen’s Organisation and the (a) Orkney, (b) Shetland and (c) Lunar fish producer organisations will come into force.

Answered by Richard Lochhead (25/06/2012): These fish quotas can be utilised now.It is the practice of the UK Fisheries Administrations to issue provisional allocations of fish quotas in the early part of the year. These provisional allocations then become final allocations later in the year, when all in-year amendments made by the EU and any adjustments made as a consequence of the application of UK quota management rules (for example, in relation to any penalties for over-fishing) can be taken into account. Provisional allocations for 2012 have already been issued. It is expected that final allocations will be issued shortly, although there remains provision in quota management rules for allocations to be adjusted further (for example where producer organisations wish to “borrow” from 2013 quotas).

Current Status: Answered by Richard Lochhead on 25/06/2012
To ask the Scottish Executive what discussions it has had with the Faroe Islands Government on the resumption of access to mackerel fishing

Answered by Richard Lochhead (25/06/2012): The Scottish Government has actively participated in all rounds of negotiations between the coastal states for mackerel so far. We act as part of the UK delegation to the European Union, the EU being the Coastal State with negotiating authority on behalf of member states. The latest round ended without agreement in Reykjavik in February. Since then, Scottish Government officials have engaged with the Faroe Islands Government by meeting with a delegation of Faroese MPs in Edinburgh. We will continue to work hard to ensure the Scottish position is well represented in the autumn negotiations for a 2013 agreement.
Current Status: Answered by Richard Lochhead on 25/06/2012
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