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Mackerel Dispute Is Irresponsible And Concerning

EUROPEAN UNION - Releasing a statement regarding the mackerel fishery dispute in the North Atlantic, EU Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Maria Damanaki and Minister of Fisheries and Coastal Affairs of the Kingdom of Norway, Lisbeth Berg-Hansen, branded it as irresponsible and concerning.

"We are deeply concerned about the irresponsible actions of Faroe Islands and Iceland in setting excessive unilateral quotas for their 2011 mackerel fisheries.

We are also deeply concerned about the Faroe Islands chartering foreign vessels to catch their unilateral quota in a clear move away from responsible, modern fisheries management.

These unilateral mackerel quotas far exceed their traditional level since 1999 and they overshoot the total catch recommended by scientists for the whole of the European fishery by almost 50 per cent.

Such an excessive exploitation poses a threat to the health of that important fish stock and it violates our common interest in a sustainable fishery.

We are committed to cooperating closely to avert further damage for the mackerel stocks in the North Atlantic, caused by the unilateral actions of Iceland and the Faroe Islands.

The European Union and Norway are examining all possible options for stopping this damaging exploitation. We intend to coordinate our actions.

We call on Iceland and the Faroe Islands to return to the negotiating table with a constructive approach and to agree on common fishery arrangements for 2012 that are responsible and sustainable."

Commenting on the statement, Ian Gatt, chief executive of the Scottish Pelagic Fishermen’s Association said: “We welcome this immediate response from the EU and Norway following our meeting, which is a positive statement of intent."

"The north-east Atlantic mackerel stock is an incredibly precious resource and it is vital that Iceland and the Faroes return to the negotiating table to find a sensible resolution that ensures the sustainability of the fishery.”

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