The Killybegs Fishermen’s Organisation (KFO) has called on the European Commission to act immediately on the presence of Russian trawlers in waters intended primarily for oil and gas exploration.
A fleet of Russian midwater freezer trawlers are currently operating in a zone shared between the UK and the Faroe islands – having been issued licences by the Faroes.
CFO boss Sean O’Donoghue has slammed the move.
He said “What is most galling about this is that the Faroese are not just facilitating the access of the Russian boats, but they are also using their excessive blue whiting quota as a trade-off to ‘print currency’ or purchase cod quota from Russia.
“It flies in the face of sanctions which have been agreed against the Russians by the EU and while the Faroes have a degree of autonomy on fisheries, they form part of the Kingdom of Denmark and do not have independence on critical issues such as military strategy.
“It is paramount that our Government does everything in its power to compel the European Commission to nip this issue in the bud. Quite apart from the disregard to stocks and scientific advice, we are all acutely aware that any profits accrued to Russian businesses are indirectly funding the catastrophic war effort in Ukraine.
“Our counterparts in Scotland have vocally condemned the Faroese highlighting the damage it will do to the stock. This year, the Faroes unilaterally increased their blue whiting quota from 82,000 tonnes to 267,413 tonnes.
“It appears that the Faroese are swapping the fish in an area they share with the UK for cod quota in Russian waters,” said Mr O’Donoghue.