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Iceland Calls Early Coastal States Meeting to Find Solution to Mackerel Dispute

Lucy Towers
31 July 2013, at 1:00am

ICELAND - As the dispute over mackerel quotas in the North Atlantic continues, Icelands Minister of Fisheries and Agriculture, Sigurur Ingi Jhannsson, has called for an early meeting of the Coastal States.

Iceland’s Minister of Fisheries and Agriculture, Sigurður Ingi Jóhannsson has written to Iceland’s fellow Coastal States (EU, Norway and the Faroe Islands) to propose new negotiations to find a solution to the ongoing mackerel dispute.

Minister Jóhannsson said: “We need to take bold action. Resolving this issue cannot wait and that is why we have called this meeting. Iceland is leading the drive for a diplomatic solution and again has demonstrated the unequivocal commitment of our government to finding an outcome that benefits all.”

Responding to Iceland’s request, Norway and the EU have confirmed their attendance at the meeting. Although Iceland’s new government proposed this meeting take place in August, it will occur in early September, at the request of the other Coastal States.

Iceland issued the request in early-mid July. This has become timely in recent weeks as the EU has escalated rhetoric about the imposition of sanctions.

The Minister continued: “We are looking forward to hosting all Coastal States at the negotiating table as soon as possible. To help protect the ecosystem and our economies, we must carefully consider scientific data and recommendations from ICES to come to a mutually beneficial solution. Threatening illegal sanctions which are in breach of World Trade Organisation rules, will not resolve this debate and will only delay a diplomatic solution. For the well-being of our country and the North Atlantic, we must reach an agreement. We stand ready to play our part.”