EU, Norway and Faroes reach agreement on NE Atlantic mackerel

Three-way mackerel agreement Norway, the EU and the Faroes have agreed on a 2019 mackerel TAC

An agreement signed in Bergen at the end of last month sets the North-East Atlantic mackerel TAC for at 653,438 tonnes, a 20% reduction on the 2018 figure but still significantly higher than the ICES advice for the fishery.

The agreement has been signed between Norway, the European Union and the Faroe Islands, extending the existing framework for a further two years, with the option of a third year if required.

The terms were agreed to after several previous rounds of negotiation had failed to reach a result. As such, the agreement excluded Iceland, Greenland and Russia, setting aside a relatively low proportion of the fishery for those states.

According to the European Commission, these catch limits are based on the long-term management strategy jointly agreed by the coastal states in 2017.

At the EU's request, coastal states also agreed to further reduce the catches in a progressive manner, by 2020, in order to be fully in line with the independent scientific advice received from ICES.

Under the agreement, the three coastal states have committed to holding further consultations in early 2019 in order to decide on further adjustments, if needed. The parties may fish their quotas in their respective zones of fisheries jurisdiction and in international waters.

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