Mackerel quota dispute

The mackerel quota dispute rages on The mackerel quota dispute rages on

The Scottish Pelagic Processors Association (SPPA) has challenged the Icelandic Government over its recent claims defending its position over North East Atlantic mackerel quotas.

In the recent interview with World Fishing & Aquaculture, the Icelandic Fisheries Minister, Sigurður Jóhannsson, claimed that Iceland was committed to finding a science based solution to end the mackerel quota dispute between Iceland, The Faroe Islands, the EU and Norway.

But Ian McFadden, chairman of the SPPA, told World Fishing & Aquaculture that Mr Jóhannsson expressed a number of inaccuracies in the interview which need to be highlighted.

He pointed out that a number of statements in the article actually contradict the Icelandic Government’s own fisheries scientist – a recognised expert in mackerel stocks.

“The massive shift of mackerel into Iceland’s waters over the past few years is simply not true. The statistics being used have no clear reference point and have not been offered up for peer review”, he said.

He pointed out that in an article in the Sunday Times back in February, Guomundar Oskarsson, the mackerel specialist at Hafro, The Marine Research Institute for Iceland, said that data does not go back far enough to detail how much mackerel distribution has changed.

Although he said that Iceland is catching more mackerel than before, this may be down to the fact that there is alot more effort to catch the species now than before.

With regards to mackerel feeding habits, Mr McFadden pointed out that Mr Jóhannsson’s interview in WF&A which said that mackerel stocks are eating into the food stocks of other fish and drastically reducing Iceland’s puffin population, is simply not true.

“His scientist pointed out in February that sandeel and puffin populations were already declining", he said.

Mr McFadden concluded that any science based solution to end the mackerel quota dispute should involve International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) data and that the SPPA would happily meet Mr Jóhannsson to share their experience of mackerel fishing and processing and speed up negotiations.

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