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Mackerel Quota Situation Must Be Resolved


EU - Both Seafish, the UK authority on seafood and WWF have said that the mackerel war must end.

WWF say that the lack of agreed management plans and a failure to respect scientific advice have led to EU and Norway pitting against Iceland and the Faroe Islands.

Louize Hill, Marine Policy Officer at WWF Scotland said: “Failed multiparty negotiations with unilateral quota setting as a result are no less than a death sentence for our precious fish stocks.

"The three nations’ governments and EU officials have to try harder at brokering a regional fishery agreement, with all relevant stakeholders and based on sound scientific advice, for the massive mackerel stock. Mackerel is a migratory fish which is expanding northwest into Icelandic waters because of global warming. Since we can hardly blame the fish for adapting to climate change, our leaders have to take responsibility for managing the mackerel stock holistically, through agreed but flexible management plans.”

Philip MacMullen, Head of Environmental Responsibility at Seafish, said: “Given our understanding of the possible long-term changes in their distribution it’s essential that Regional Fishery Management Organisations, are flexible enough to accommodate the movements of these highly migratory fish. We should be past the time when states can make unilateral declarations of entitlement to fish that have historically been subject to a comprehensive management scheme. Stocks must be managed responsibly and according to best scientific advice.

“This dispute involves a number of uncertainties and has significant conservation and commercial implications. All parties to the dispute over North Atlantic mackerel should be prepared to negotiate towards a solution as soon as possible. Responsible stewardship of our precious fish stocks must be the paramount consideration and we would urge this as the starting point for talks.”

The Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) has already warned that the continuing certification of fisheries harvesting Northeast Atlantic mackerel is conditional on the establishment of a mechanism for monitoring and managing the combined catch of all the nations before the end of 2011.