Icelandic Ambassador to the UK Benedikt Jonsson assured his country has done its best to reach sustainable levels of mackerel. (Photo: FIS Stock)
Ambassador rejects accusations from Scotish fishermen
Monday, November 26, 2012, 04:00 (GMT + 9)
The Icelandic ambassador to the UK responded to Scottish fishers’ claims that Iceland is running a "cynical propaganda exercise" in the UK by outright rejecting it.
Icelandic Ambassador to the UK Benedikt Jonsson firmly denied that Iceland is, as Chief Executive of the Scottish Pelagic Fishermen's Association (SPFA) Mike Gatt put it, trying to take advantage of Grimsby and Hull fish producers’ fears that they might lose access to Icelandic white fish.
Gatt was commenting on a meeting held last week with the local seafood industry in which Iceland was seeking support for its unilateral increase in its north-east mackerel quota. He said SPFA believes Iceland would try to convince the local community that they stand behind sustainable mackerel fishing.
“This is a quite ludicrous assertion as their approach from the outset has never been to put the health of stock first for the benefit of all participants in the fishery, but instead hold it to ransom for their own advantage and without any due concern to the potential damage being inflicted upon it,” he commented.
Benedikt Jonsson rejected Gatt's claims and assured that his country had done its best to reach a deal on "sustainable levels" of mackerel fishing, reports IceNews.
"We are meeting with the Grimsby seafood industry and area residents to discuss the need for mackerel fishing countries to reach a compromise on fishing quotas,” he said. "For several years, Iceland has worked hard to reach an agreement with the so-called Coastal States of Norway, the Faroe Islands and the EU, including Scotland, which will ensure we all catch mackerel at sustainable levels."
"We have repeatedly offered proposals that sustain the mackerel population and ensure a fair outcome for all countries. Unfortunately, certain countries have responded with attacks on Iceland and threats of sanctions, while simultaneously demanding a vastly oversized portion of the mackerel catch,” he added.
Jonsson also insisted that Iceland understands how important its seafood is to England’s fishing sector and therefore his government wishes to “negotiate a fair solution.”
- Scottish fishers condemn Iceland's 'cynical propaganda exercise'
By Natalia Real