There has been some comment in the press recently about threats to those fishing within the area of Rockall. Rockall is an uninhabitable granite isle and is the eroded rump of an extinct volcano located in the north of the Atlantic Ocean. It stands to a height of about 56.3ft (17.15 m), is some 80ft (25 m) wide and is 100ft (31 m) long at its base. The so called United Kingdom claimed Rockall in 1955 and incorporated it as a part of Scotland in 1972. The reason that the “United Kingdom” laid its imperial ambition to “own” Rockall was in order to lay claim to the significant fishing grounds and the oil-rich Atlantic seabed that surround it. This arbitrary action by the British has long been disputed. Ireland, Iceland and Denmark (on behalf of the Faroes) have disputed British claims to Rockall.
Now, it appears, that the Scottish government is threatening some form of enforcement action against Irish vessels found fishing within 12 miles of Rockall. This is clearly the wrong approach and the matter should be a matter for negotiation and international referral rather than foolish enforcement action undertaken at the behest of various greed based interest groups. It is important that interceltlc co-operation overrides such claims.
Submitted by Alastair Kneale, Director of Information Celtic League.