Aquaculture for all

EU & Norway Give Strong Message On Mackerel

Environment Politics

EU - The EU and Norwegian fishing industries' (including Scotland) have met with Fisheries Commissioner Maria Damanaki in Brussels to discuss the reckless and irresponsible behaviour of Faroe Islands and Iceland in continuing to plunder the mackerel stock with impunity.

This year (2011) is the fourth year that Iceland and the second year that the Faroes have allowed themselves a virtually limitless mackerel fisheries in their waters based on enormous autonomous mackerel quotas.

After the talks, the European Association of Fish Producers Organisations, said: Both countries act completely outside the current management plan for this stock and outside the scientific advice by ICES. For the Norwegian and European pelagic industries the mackerel stock is their lifeblood and the lack of effective measures by the EU and Norway aiming at bringing both countries back to regular management of the mackerel stock is extremely disappointing."

Ian Gatt, chief executive of the Scottish Pelagic Fishermens Association, said: We are pleased that the Commissioner has reacted positively to our proposed action plan and we are very hopeful that in the near future both the Commissioner and the Norwegian fisheries minister will be successful in adopting measures to stop this reckless and irresponsible behaviour by Iceland and the Faroe Islands.

In the meeting the industry underlined:

  • that since 2006 the Faroe Islands and Iceland together have increased autonomously their share in the mackerel fisheries from five per cent to 46 per cent of the Total Allowable Catch.
  • that the Faroe Islands in order to be able to utilise their 2011 quota- have decided to issue mackerel licenses to Faroese whitefish vessels as well as to a number of third country vessels. A number of these are now listed on the North East Atlantic Fisheries Commission (NEAFC) list of Illegal, Unregulated and Unmanaged fisheries (IUU) in other words they are on an international black-list.
  • that the mackerel stock is very healthy but that this continuous plundering will affect the stock.
  • that the fundamental principle in achieving a solution must be that Iceland and Faroe Islands will not be rewarded for their behaviour in the form of a substantial future share in the stock.

Furthermore the industries requested the following actions by the Commissioner:

  • Work together in close cooperation with her Norwegian ministerial colleague in the same manner as the industries are doing.
  • Immediate inspection visits to Iceland and Faroe Islands under the heading of NEAFC.
  • Enforcing existing NEAFC regulation backed up by the EU and Norwegian regulation on IUU.
  • Implement a total import ban into EU and Norway of all fish and fish products from Iceland and Faroe Islands.
  • Freeze accession talks with Iceland.

Unfortunately, due to the tragic events in Norway last week the scheduled meeting with minister Berg-Hansen was postponed to a later date in August.

Further Reading

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