RockallCopyright of the image
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Rockall – an eroded volcano – is located 418 km west of Western Isles in Scotland

The first Irish skipper to return from Rockall since the outbreak of a fisheries dispute said it was a "political coup" by the Scottish Nationalist Party (SNP).

Frank McClenaghan also said that he would not be chasing lucrative waters around Rockall by any threat.

The Scottish Government warned that Irish ships could be approached if they fished within 12 miles.

The Irish and Scottish governments are stalled in talks to try to resolve the dispute.

  • Q & A: Rockall fishing conflict
  • The adventurers who lived on Rockall

The Scottish government's move was to win votes, McClenaghan told The BBC's The View.

"They lost a lot of voices in the coastal fishing communities and it's the SNP that is trying to reclaim them before Brexit," he said.


Frank McClenaghan stated that they were supported by the Irish Government and the EU

He said that there was "no animosity" between the Irish and Scottish boats and that everyone was "surprised" by the line.

Mr. McClenaghan, who runs the Foyle Warrior trawler from Greencastle in County Donegal, said that a quarter of his annual catch was landed at Rockall and that they would have a hard time staying in business without it.

"This boat has been fishing there for 20 years and we have nothing to fear," he added.

"As far as we are concerned, by the government and by the EU, we are right."

"Aiming for an amicable position"

After unloading his catch at Greencastle, McClenaghan returned to Rockall and plans to spend about a week fishing before returning to Donegal.

Fiona Hyslop, Scottish Secretary for External Affairs, insisted that her government was right to issue a warning.

She said the number of offenses committed by Irish fishermen had increased considerably around Rockall in recent years and that her government was required to protect its fishing grounds.

She added, however, that high-level talks were underway with both governments and that she hoped to resolve the conflict.

"Our relationship with Ireland is strong and we highly value it.Our goal is to reach an amicable agreement with the Irish government," said Ms Hyslop.

Rockall – an eroded volcano – is located 418 km west of the western islands of Scotland.

The United Kingdom claims ownership of this uninhabited outcrop and the surrounding 12-mile territorial sea, which abounds with several species of fish, including haddock, burbot and squid.

But the Republic of Ireland does not believe that a country should own Rockall and insists that the waters around it are shared by all EU Member States.

The dividing line between Scotland and Ireland has erupted as a result of increased Irish ship activity around Rockall.

There will be more information on the Rockall dispute and the wider implications of Brexit for the fishing world on The View of BBC One in Northern Ireland on Thursday, June 13th at 22:35 BST.