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Eilidh Whiteford, MP for Banff & Buchan

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Whiteford Presses DEFRA On Mackerel Dispute

Sunday, 16 October 2011

Banff & Buchan MP Eilidh Whiteford has raised the ongoing fisheries dispute with Iceland and the Faroe Islands with the UK Fisheries Minister on the floor of the House of Commons.

Speaking during Question Time in the House of Commons, Eilidh Whiteford MP asked the Minister:

“Alongside CFP reform, the ongoing mackerel dispute with Iceland and the Faroe islands continues to cause great concern, not just for pelagic fishermen but for the white fish fleet and fish processors. Will the Minister update the House on the progress of negotiations with Iceland and tell us, in the event of a deal, what recompense will be made available to Scottish fishermen? Might it possibly take the form of additional quota?”

Responding, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at DEFRA Richard Benyon MP said:

“I cannot give the hon. Lady that precise information at the moment. I can tell her that there has been a slight improvement in the relationship with the Icelanders, and I hope that we can build on that. I am still pessimistic about our discussions with the Faroese, but I assure her that I will keep her closely involved, because we are talking about our most valuable fishery. It is sustainable, and we face a severe risk of losing marine stewardship accreditation for the stock, which would cause great harm to her constituents and our economy.”

Commenting afterwards, Dr Whiteford said:

“2500 jobs, many of them in the North-east, are dependant on the mackerel sector. I have been in close contact with industry representatives and will continue to press the case for them at the highest level in Westminster, while I know my colleague Richard Lochhead will do likewise from a Scottish Government perspective because this issue has serious knock-on effects for parts of the white fish fleet and processors.

“The UK Government, as the EU Member State, must redouble its efforts to ensure a just and fair outcome for our fishing industry in the face of outrageous and irresponsible behaviour by the Faroese.”

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