‘Very disappointing’: Anger over extension of Faroe Islands fisheries deal with Russia | world | news

The Faroese granted Moscow the right to catch tens of thousands of tons of blue whiting in a special area shared with Britain, despite the war in Ukraine.

Ian Gatt, chief executive of the Scottish Pelagic Fishermen’s Association, said: “It is very disappointing, if not surprising, that the Faroe Islands have reached a fisheries deal for 2023 with Russia.

“It was very clear what should have happened. Instead, Faroe’s actions have violated their moral obligations to the international community.”

The Faroe Fleets will have access to 12,285 tonnes of Barents Sea cod, 1,276 tonnes of haddock, 900 tonnes of flatfish and 4,000 tonnes of prawns.

Mr Gatt said what “really stands out” is that Russian ships are entitled to 72,000 tonnes of blue whiting, 13,000 tonnes of mackerel and 8,500 tonnes of herring.

He added: “Most of this blue whiting will come from British waters under a protocol agreed between the UK and the Faroe Islands back in 1999. It allows the Faroe Islands to license Russian vessels to fish in a ‘special area’ – essentially British waters.”

The British government needs to put much more pressure on the Faroe Islands given the “ruthless situation”, Mr Gatt said.

The fishing industry has been urging the government for months to pressure the island nation – 200 miles north of Scotland – to maximize damage to Vladimir Putin’s war machine by banning its trawlers.

When the express headed for the Faroe Islands in June, the Faroese government said Russian ships had not been in British waters since April but could return in December.

Commenting on the latest deal agreed last week, Faroese Fisheries Minister Árni Skaale said: “It is undoubtedly the right thing for the Faroe Islands and I am pleased that all but one of the parties in Parliament see the sensible thing in it .”

Fish accounts for more than 90 percent of Faroese exports, with Russia being the largest single buyer, buying nearly a quarter of all exports this year.

In July, the UK government imposed a 35 percent tariff on whitefish caught in Russia, contributing to a “perfect storm” for chippy owners.

According to industry figures, more than 30 per cent of white fish sold in the UK are caught by Russian vessels.

Soaring fish costs, energy bills and inflation have increased the risk of French fry shops closing across the UK, the National Federation of Fish Friers (NFFF) has warned.

Andrew Crook, President of the NFFF, said it was a “very worrying time” for Chippy owners as many stores were at risk of closing.

He said: “People are starting to feel the pressure. These are very worrying circumstances [with energy bills rising].

“About this time last year we started to see an increase in fish prices. People are very worried about the future.

“The nation’s appetite is still very large [in favour] of cod and haddock.”

The war in Ukraine, inflation and extreme heat this summer have pushed up the prices of sunflower oil, potatoes and peas.

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has been asked for comment.

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