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Delegation presses for action on mackerel

27 Mar 2013
An EU pelagic industry delegation is pressing the EC to implement sanctions against Iceland and the Faores. Credit: NOAA

An EU pelagic industry delegation is pressing the EC to implement sanctions against Iceland and the Faores. Credit: NOAA

An EU pelagic industry delegation met with European Commissioner Maria Damanaki on 26 March to express concern about the lack of progress in the mackerel dispute.

Representatives from Scotland, Ireland, Denmark and the Netherlands, expressed grave concern on the standstill in the coastal states negotiations and asked the Commissioner to implement quick and effective sanction measures against Iceland and the Faroe Islands with the aim to restore the sustainable management of the two stocks.

A framework agreement reached in October last year gives a strong mandate to the EC to implement effective trade measures against countries that continue to fish in an unsustainable and irresponsible manner on stocks of shared interest with the EU.

The meeting was set up to discuss the current situation of the management of pelagic stocks where Iceland has set an autonomous mackerel quota for 2013 of 123,000 ton or 22.7% of the science based 2013 TAC and where the Faroe Islands has set an autonomous mackerel quota of 159,000 ton or 29.3% of the 2013 TAC. This means that in 2013, both countries will catch 52% of the 2013 TAC, where as recently as 2006 their joint share in the mackerel catches was just over 5%.

The Faroe Islands has also decided to set an autonomous quota for Atlanto Scandian herring of 105,000 ton, after stepping out of the five party management agreement for this stock in January this year.

Ian Gatt, chief executive of the Scottish Pelagic Fishermen’s Association, said: “We told the Commissioner that the unsustainable fishing practices of Iceland and the Faroes must not be allowed to continue any longer and that there must be the immediate implementation of trade sanctions that will hopefully provide the catalyst for reaching an agreement. The onus is currently on both Iceland and the Faroes to return to the negotiating table, but so far neither country has shown any inclination to do so.”

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An EU pelagic industry delegation is pressing the EC to implement sanctions against Iceland and the Faores. Credit: NOAA

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