Iceland rejects EU mackerel proposal

01 Nov 2010
The EU and Norway offered Iceland 3.1% of the total European mackerel quota, which Reykjavik rejected.

The EU and Norway offered Iceland 3.1% of the total European mackerel quota, which Reykjavik rejected.

Iceland dismissed the mackerel quota proposed by the European Union and Norway, saying it was unrealistic and would not solve the ongoing row in the north Atlantic, its negotiator said.

Iceland rejected a proposal to increase its quota of the fish to 26,000 tonnes, higher than the previous quota of 2,000 tonnes.

 

The country had raised the quota to 130,000 tonnes this year, sparking anger in many EU member states and Brussels.

 

"The offer is unrealistic and does not contribute to fixing the problem," negotiator Tomas Heidar was quoted in the Frettabladid newspaper.

 

The Faroe Islands also tripled its quota to 85,000 tonnes.

 

Brussels and Oslo consider themselves the sole owners of mackerel stocks, and as a result only offer small quotas to Iceland and the Faroes, said Heidar.

 

The European-Norwegian offer corresponded to 3.1% of the total European quota, compared to 16% if Iceland fished 130,000 tonnes.

 

A spokesman for the Federation of Icelandic Fishing Vessel Owners dismissed the European offer.

 

"If we cannot reach an agreement on a quota that seems realistic for us, Iceland will do as before and fish according to our laws," said Sigurdur Sverrisson.

 

"The mackerel are in Icelandic waters and belong to us. Certain people will probably accuse us of over fishing, but all countries must be reasonable, not just one," he said.

 

Negotiations are due to resume on 8-12 November in London.

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