Orkney and Shetland MP, Alistair Carmichael, has today in Parliament raised the issue of Russian vessels being given Faroese licences to operate in shared UK-Faroese fishing grounds. Mr Carmichael asked what recent discussions the fisheries minister had with Faroese counterparts on access for Russian fishing vessels to shared UK-Faroese fishing grounds, with a broad consensus that Faroese colleagues should consider swifter action to bar Russian boats.
The exchange followed a meeting between Mr Carmichael and other parliamentary colleagues with the Faroese Prime Minister during his visit to London for Flag Day celebrations, in which the licensing issue was raised.
Speaking in the House, Mr Carmichael asked:
“As it happens, I had my own opportunity to make exactly these representations to the Faroese Prime Minister yesterday and I am sure that, like the Minister, I was able to welcome the undertaking that the Faroese will look at not continuing this arrangement when it expires at the end of the year. However, does she agree that, as I said to the Faroese Prime Minister yesterday, the war in Ukraine is happening in the here and now and, while the Faroese have a good and profitable record of playing both sides against the middle, this is one occasion where they really need to pick a side?”
The minister replied:
“I could not agree more, and I hear that that was very much the tone of the useful meeting the all-party group on fisheries had with the Faroese Prime Minister yesterday. I assure the right hon. Gentleman that Government Ministers have also made that message loud and clear at all levels.”
Reacting after the exchange, Mr Carmichael said:
“I hope that the Faroese will continue to assess what they can do to speed up the ejection of Russian fishing vessels – and I will continue to seek a meeting to discuss this with the Faroese minister of fisheries.
“The theme of the Faroese Flag Day celebrations in London this year centred around the British occupation of the islands in the Second World War. This is an important part of our shared history – and a timely reminder that every country, at some point in its history, will find itself in a situation in which it has to take a side.”