EU "must act" to curb Faroe and Iceland
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Thread: EU "must act" to curb Faroe and Iceland

  1. #1
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    Default EU "must act" to curb Faroe and Iceland

    http://www.fishnewseu.com/latest-new...d-iceland.html

    Quote Originally Posted by fishnewseu
    Wednesday, 28 July 2010 14:25

    THE EU’s pelagic fishing industry sector today called on the European Commission to take “immediate action” to curb Iceland and Faroese mackerel catching policy.



    The European Association of Fish Producer Organisations said that following Iceland’s decision to set an autonomous mackerel quota of 130,000 tonnes for 2010, last week the Faroe Islands decided to do the same by setting an autonomous mackerel quota of 85,000 tonnes.



    Now the EU pelagic fishing industry urgently called on the EU commissioner for fisheries, Maria Damanaki, to “act quickly and decisively in reaction to this irresponsible behaviour of the two countries.”



    The EU pelagic fishing industry organised in the European producers’ grouping were deeply concerned about the behaviour by Iceland and Faroe Islands by setting large autonomous mackerel quota outside the existing mackerel management and scientific advice.

    “This outrageous behaviour could seriously jeopardise the currently healthy mackerel stock with huge negative economic consequences for the EU industry as a result,” they said.



    Therefore the EU industry called upon the EU to act quickly and decisively by taking the following actions:

    1. Immediate suspension of the current (2010) bilateral fisheries agreement between the EU and the Faroe Islands;
    2. Request the same from the Norwegian government in the light of the existing 10 year mackerel agreement between the EU and Norway;
    3. Publicly denounce the setting of a 85,000 tonnes autonomous mackerel quota by the Faroe Islands government and point out that this behaviour is akin to IUU fishing;
    4. Develop and execute immediate EU trade sanctions against the Faroe Islands and Iceland. More precisely, set an immediate import ban for all seafood products originating from Faroe Islands and Iceland;
    5. Close the EU ports and EEZ’s for all Icelandic and Faroe fishing vessels;
    6. Place Icelandic and Faroese vessels fishing for mackerel on the IUU black list;
    7. Seek an immediate suspension by Iceland of its declared 130,000 tonnes mackerel quota in the accession negotiations starting today.

    Gerard van Balsfoort, chair of the European association’s Northern Pelagic Working Group said: “The EU must be prepared to stand up for and protect Community pelagic fishermen against this outrageous behaviour. We are not prepared to stand idly by what is happening now and we will not accept any mackerel quota reductions, caused by the irresponsible overfishing carried out by both countries.”

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    Default Norway adds weight to mackerel issue

    http://www.fishnewseu.com/latest-new...rel-issue.html

    Quote Originally Posted by fishnewseu
    Friday, 30 July 2010 17:41

    NORWAY’S Fisheries Minister has dubbed as “irresponsible,” Iceland’s and the Faroese move to award themselves hefty mackerel quotas in the face of heavy criticism.

    And Norway’s broadside comes hard on the heels of a call from European fish producers for tough and immediate action from the European Commission in an attempt to make the countries toe the line.

    The European Association of Fish Producer Organisations said this week that following Iceland’s decision to set an autonomous mackerel quota of 130,000 tonnes for 2010 and the Faroe Islands decision to do the same by setting an autonomous mackerel quota of 85,000 tonnes, EU commissioner for fisheries, Maria Damanaki, must “act quickly and decisively in reaction to this irresponsible behaviour of the two countries.”

    Now Norway’s Fisheries Minister Lisbeth Berg-Hansen has weighed in with further criticism.

    She said: “The irresponsible fishing for mackerel which Iceland and the Faroe Islands have initiated as an attempt to secure future quota shares is a serious threat to the mackerel stock, and undermines the co-operation to secure the necessary conservation measures. I consider this situation very seriously, and it has been the topic of discussions between myself and the European Commissioner for Fisheries and Maritime Affairs,”

    Catches of mackerel from Faroese and Icelandic vessels are, according to Norwegian legislation, not allowed to be landed in Norwegian ports. An exemption is made for the 2000 tons of mackerel which the Faroe Islands are entitled to catch in Norwegian waters as part of the fisheries agreement for 2010 between the Faroe Islands and Norway.

    The European Association of Fish Producers demands from the Commissioner are:



    Immediate suspension of the current (2010) bilateral fisheries agreement between the EU and the Faroe Islands;

    Request the same from the Norwegian government in the light of the existing 10-year mackerel agreement between the EU and Norway;

    Publicly denounce the setting of an 85,000 tonnes autonomous mackerel quota by the Faroe Islands government and point out that this behaviour is akin to IUU fishing;

    Develop and execute immediate EU trade sanctions against the Faroe Islands and Iceland. More precisely, set an immediate import ban for all seafood products originating from Faroe Islands and Iceland;

    Close the EU ports and EEZ’s for all Icelandic and Faroe fishing vessels;

    Place Icelandic and Faroese vessels fishing for mackerel on the IUU black list;

    Seek an immediate suspension by Iceland of its declared 130,000 tonnes mackerel quota in the accession negotiations.

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    Default Call for Iceland/Faroes seafood ban as mackerel row intensifies

    http://www.fishupdate.com/news/fulls...tensifies.html

    Quote Originally Posted by fishupdate
    ICELAND and the Faroe Islands are facing the increasing demands for a ban on at least some of their seafood exports unless they back down on their decision to give themselves a unilateral mackerel quota.

    EU pelagic fishermen have described the move as "outrageous", saying it is threatening the current healthy mackerel stock.

    The European Association of Fish Producer Organisations said the EU Fisheries Commissioner Maria Damanaki must act decisively and act quickly and said a seafood ban may be the only thing that will bring both countries to the negotiating table.

    Iceland has set herself a quota of 135,000 tones of mackerel and the Faroes has given itself 85,000 tons.

    Gerard van Balsfoort, chair of the European association’s Northern Pelagic Working Group said: “The EU must be prepared to stand up for and protect Community pelagic fishermen against this outrageous behaviour. We are not prepared to stand idly by what is happening now and we will not accept any mackerel quota reductions, caused by the irresponsible overfishing carried out by both countries.”

    Now Norway, which is not a member of the EU,joined the protest this weekend. The Norwegian Minister of Fisheries and Coastal Affairs Lisbeth Berg-Hansen described the act by both countries as "irresponsible".

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    Default Bitter battle over mackerel quotas hots up

    http://www.fishnewseu.com/latest-new...s-hots-up.html

    Quote Originally Posted by fishnewseu
    Wednesday, 04 August 2010 17:39

    THE EU and Norwegian pelagic industries said today they were joining forces to demand tough action against the "irresponsible” mackerel fishing by Iceland and Faroe.

    In a joint statement issued this afternoon, both pelagic sectors said the EU and Norwegian pelagic fleet owners had an urgent meeting yesterday in London to discuss the “very worrying” situation in the mackerel fisheries, caused by the “irresponsible behaviour” of Iceland and the Faroe Islands.

    After setting 130,000 tonnes of autonomous mackerel quota by Iceland earlier this year the Faroese government decided last week to set an autonomous mackerel quota of 85,000 tonnes.

    But both decisions went directly against the scientific advice for this “most important” pelagic stock in the North East Atlantic.

    The EU and Norway meanwhile, stuck to the agreed management plan for mackerel and have set their quota fully in accordance with the scientific advice.

    The statement went on that EU and Norwegian vessel owners welcomed the decision of the Norwegian government to prohibit landings of mackerel by Faroese or Icelandic vessels in Norway and they called upon the European Commission and member states to do the same.

    “Moreover they discussed ways to organise an industry-based blockage of mackerel landings in the EU by vessels from the Faroe Islands or Iceland. “

    They also called upon their authorities to decide an immediate import ban for all fresh and frozen seafood products into the EU and Norway from Iceland and Faroe Islands, including fish oil and fish meal and to close their ports and their 200 miles zones for any Faroese or Icelandic fishing vessel.

    The EU and Norwegian industry representatives underlined that they feel very strongly that their politicians and governments should protect the mackerel stock and the interests of their fishing fleet against the behaviour of Iceland and the Faroe Islands.

    Gerard van Balsfoort (EU industry), Audun Marak and Sigurd Teige (Norwegian industry) said : “This is the moment that we expect from our political leaders and administrations to work closely together in designing and deciding immediate and effective measures against Iceland and the Faroe Islands in order to defend the mackerel stock and the EU and Norwegian mackerel industry. This is a test case. If EU and Norway are not able to stop the outrageous behaviour by Iceland and the Faroe Islands the credibility of fisheries management at large is at stake.”

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    Default Iceland has right to cash in on mackerel realities, says technology boss

    http://www.fishnewseu.com/latest-new...logy-boss.html

    Quote Originally Posted by fishenwseu
    Thursday, 05 August 2010 13:35

    A PLEA for reason and the acceptance of realities came today over the mackerel row which is leading to a major stand-off between the EU and Norway on one side and Iceland and Faroe on the other.

    Sigmar Gudbjornsson managing director of Iceland’s Star-Oddi Ltd, a developer and manufacturer of technology used in aquatic and fisheries research, said it was his personal view that migratory change in relation to mackerel had to be acknowledged.

    And therefore quota agreements were not necessarily set in stone.

    Iceland and Faroe have sparked a major controversy by claiming sizeable mackerel quotas for themselves which has sparked a furious reaction from the EU, the commmunity’s pelagic fisheries sector and also Norway.

    But today, Mr Gudbjornsson effectively called for acknowledgement of change when it came to the division of mackerel quota.

    He said Icelanders had seen how the mackerel stock is changing its migration routes and going farther North into Iceland’s economic zone, which is probably, he said, related to climatic changes.

    They would expect this to continue for decades to come, possibly with other fish species following and other cold species will go from Iceland farther North.

    With mackerel in Icelandic waters in such huge quantities, this influences the whole life chain in Icelandic waters, where mackerel “vacuums up food that other commercial fish stocks live on, and birds and mammals, influencing their survival,” he said.

    And seen from his perspective, he would have liked the mackerel not to have entered the Icelandic fishing zone.

    “However as it has happened, and the mackerel is taking its toll in Icelandic waters, then I feel that Iceland have the right to take their share of the stock.

    “It should then be discussed or even better calculated how much a share Iceland and the Faroese should have; Iceland and the Faroese have obtained right to the mackerel stock. The quota size will not be decided alone by EU countries and Norway anymore,” Mr Gudbjornsson contended.

    He said the EU had the means to put pressure on Iceland and put into action some kind of trade ban in reaction to the unilateral quota situation, which would show how far they were willing to go in obtaining a deal for their members, even though, he contended, right is not on their side.

    It was he added a question now of acknowledging that agreements do not need to stay the same forever.

    Even if there has been an agreement, stocks change their behaviour.

    Star-Odd was founded in Iceland in 1985, it has since its inception been a leading developer and manufacturer of technology used in aquatic and fisheries research.

    In 1993 they developed and started manufacturing a data storage tag which is a miniature data logger. It was originally designed as a small fish data logger in cooperation with marine research institutes, for tagging species such as cod and halibut, collecting information on behavior of commercial and valuable species. The loggers are also used in various other underwater researches as well as in pharmaceutical, food and beverage industries.

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    Default Iceland’s mackerel fishery is legal and responsible, say vessel owners

    http://www.fishnewseu.com/latest-new...el-owners.html

    Quote Originally Posted by fishnewseu
    Thursday, 05 August 2010 16:21

    THE escalating row over Icelandic and Faroese mackerel quotas went a stage further tonight when the Federation of Icelandic Fishing Vessel Owners maintained that Iceland’s mackerel fishery is “legal and responsible.”

    Hard on the heels of a call from a leading Icelandic figure that Iceland should be able to take advantage of changed mackerel migratory patterns, the Icelandic federation moved to assert that accusations being levelled at Iceland were “totally unfounded.”

    For the Icelandic vessel owners told fishnewseu.com that they totally rejected the claims that Iceland was acting irresponsibly levelled at them by EU and Norwegian fishery interests again this week.

    And they added that Iceland has “every right to fish for mackerel within the Icelandic jurisdiction” just as Norway and the EU have the right to fish for mackerel in their respective jurisdictions. “Iceland’s mackerel fishery is therefore equally as legitimate as the EU’s and Norway’s,” the Icelandic federation contended.

    They added that:

    As Iceland was not admitted to negotiations for the mackerel fishery of 2010, Iceland set itself a unilateral quota of 130 000 tonnes; this was done prior to the completion of negotiations and decisions by other parties so that they could take responsible account of Iceland’s quota in their own decisions if they wished.

    There is no comprehensive agreement for the integrated management of the mackerel fishery. Norway and the EU have seriously undermined the credibility of their own management scheme for more than a decade by unlawfully blocking the participation of Iceland in mackerel negotiations. The current lack of an agreement for the integrated management of mackerel is a direct consequence of this regrettable behaviour by Norway and the EU.

    The Norwegian and the EU industries have called for an immediate import ban on fresh and frozen seafood products from Iceland. Norway and the EU do not have the right to ban imports of Icelandic fishery products because of our mackerel fishery. Such action would constitute a violation of the EFTA, GATT and EEA agreements.

    Iceland is a coastal state and fisheries in the Icelandic EEZ are therefore managed by Iceland and not through the North East Atlantic Fisheries Commisson - NEAFC. According to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and the 1995 UN Fish Stocks Agreement, Norway and the EU have an obligation to negotiate with Iceland.

    The Icelandic mackerel fishery is a legal and responsible fishery. It is absurd to speak of irresponsible fishery. The fishery is based on the same laws and rules as apply to other fishing by Icelandic vessels and the catch is reported and weighed at landing.

    Iceland has conducted and will continue to conduct research on the distribution of mackerel within the Icelandic EEZ. Iceland also participated in the international mackerel egg survey in 2010.

    Fishing activities on the high seas in the NEAFC Convention Area are subject to NEAFC rules and regulations. According to NEAFC rules (NEAFC Convention Article 12, 2. b. ), states that do not accept NEAFC recommendations have a right to object, in which case they are not bound by those particular recommendations. Iceland has objected to the quota that it was alloted for its fishery in the high seas by other NEAFC member states and is thus not bound by that recommendation. Fishing by Icelandic vessels for mackerel in the high seas, should such fishing occur, would of course be subject to NEAFC rules other than regarding the amount of catch. Iceland has set limits on how much mackerel Icelandic vessels can catch in waters outside the Icelandic EEZ.

    Norway and the EU have repeatedly decided upon a TAC for mackerel that has far exceeded the advice of the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES). Part of their quota has been by unilateral decision. Is this conduct to be viewed as responsible?

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    Default All necessary measures to be considered by Commission following Faroes mackerel quota

    http://www.fishnewseu.com/latest-new...claration.html

    Quote Originally Posted by fishnewseu
    Monday, 09 August 2010 14:47

    THE European Commission today expressed its grave concern at the unilateral mackerel quota of 85,000 tonnes set by Faroe Islands for 2010.

    It pointed out that this level amounted to three times the level of Faroese traditional quota entitlement under multilateral management arrangements between the EU, Norway and Faroe Islands in force from 1999 to 2009. It particularly regretted this unilateral action which ran contrary to the positive contribution the Faroe Islands had made with the EU in re-building this mackerel stock; a stock of key importance to the EU pelagic fishing fleet and industry.

    This unilateral decision by the Faroe Islands came as a surprise, since in discussions in July they had indicated their support for the Commission in its efforts to ensure a sustainable management of the stock.

    Commissioner Maria Damanaki stated that the escalating trend, whereby unjustifiably high mackerel fishing quotas had been set firstly by Iceland and now by Faroe Islands for 2010, was in clear contradiction with the avowed objective of sustainable fisheries. Such actions risked causing the collapse of the NE Atlantic mackerel stock, which would be to the detriment of all the fleets and industries concerned.

    The Commissioner indicated that the European Union would be sending a very clear message to the Faroe Islands in the coming days and would be seeking early consultations between the parties in order to put the management of the NE Atlantic mackerel stock back on a sustainable basis. However, should the current anarchic situation in the mackerel fisheries continue with unreasonable positions being maintained by parties, then the Commission will contemplate all necessary measures to conserve the mackerel stock and safeguard EU interests.
    "We will put all our efforts into ending this untenable situation by trying to come to an agreement with all states fishing on the north eastern mackerel stock. Should our efforts however not be fruitful I cannot guarantee that we will continue to exchange fishing possibilities with the Faröe Islands and Iceland in 2011," said Maria Damanaki.

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    Default Fishermen act to block Faroese landing

    http://www.pressandjournal.co.uk/Article.aspx/1858674

    Quote Originally Posted by Press and Journal
    Skippers and crewmen stage Peterhead protest over mackerel catches
    Fishermen act to block Faroese landing

    By Stephen Christie

    Published: 06/08/2010

    Fishermen staged a protest at a north-east harbour yesterday in an escalating row over landing fish from Iceland and the Faroe Islands at EU ports.

    About 20 skippers and crewmen from the region’s pelagic fleet gathered on the quayside at Peterhead as a Faroese crew attempted to offload almost 900 tonnes of mackerel.

    They were angry that local firm Lunar Freezing had agreed to take delivery of the fish despite calls this week for an industry blockade of mackerel landings to the EU by vessels from the two countries.

    Police were called as protesters moved their cars and vans to block Lunar vehicles from collecting the fish from the Faroese trawler Jupiter, which was tied up at the port.

    A spokeswoman later said it had been a peaceful protest and no further police action would be taken.

    Gardenstown skipper George West, 53, said there was a feeling of “betrayal” among the group.

    Mr West, who owns Resolute and fishes out of Fraserburgh, said: “Iceland and the Faroe Islands are showing complete disregard for the wider pelagic industry by setting their own quotas.

    “Their behaviour is simply not acceptable and poses a real threat to the livelihoods of hundreds.”

    He added: “Just this week there have been meetings calling for a ban on landing mackerel caught by boats from these countries at ports across the EU.

    “But here we have a local company with a good working relationship with all of us, ignoring these calls and flying in the face of what has been discussed.

    “We all feel betrayed by what they are doing.”

    Concerns have been raised in recent weeks that Iceland and Faroe are catching mackerel outside accepted biological limits.

    The European Association of Fish Producers Organisations (EAFPO) said the countries acted “outrageously” by moving to secure quotas of 130,000 and 85,000 tonnes respectively.

    Industry leaders in the EU and Norway fear it could lead to the depletion of valuable fish stocks.

    Norway has already banned landings of mackerel by Icelandic and Faroese boats and called on the EU to do the same.

    A joint statement from the EAFPO, the Norwegian Fishermen’s Association and Norwegian Seafood Federation released earlier this week said Iceland and Faroe were ignoring scientific advice for “this most important pelagic stock”.

    The statement – the result of an industry meeting in London on Tuesday – said authorities should close ports and their 200-mile zones to all Icelandic and Faroese fishing boats.
    Anger

    A spokesman for Lunar Freezing said: “We will not dignify this with a comment.”

    Fisheries Secretary Richard Lochhead MSP said: “I share the anger of Scottish fishermen over the irresponsible actions of the Faroe Islands and understand the depth of feeling that led to the factory blockade in Peterhead.

    “By setting a unilateral mackerel total allowable catch far in excess of their previous share, both the Faroe Islands and Iceland have taken short-sighted and selfish decisions that could be disastrous for global mackerel stocks.

    “I will be taking this issue up once again with European Fisheries Commissioner Maria Damanaki and calling on her to make clear that the EU finds such actions unacceptable and to set out the consequences of these actions.”

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    Default Faroes forced to set own mackerel quota, says Faroe Shipowners’ Association

    http://www.fishnewseu.com/latest-new...sociation.html

    Quote Originally Posted by fishnewseu
    Tuesday, 10 August 2010 10:37

    THE Faroe Islands had no choice but to set its own quota when faced with its exclusion from this year’s northeast Atlantic mackerel agreement by the EU and Norway, according to the Faroe Shipowners’ Association.

    In statement released to www.fishnewseu.com, the organisation explains that despite scientific evidence that the northeast Atlantic mackerel stock has gravitated considerably toward the northwest in recent years, fisheries-dependent Faroe Islands failed to win concessions from the EU and Norway on any such considerations during this year’s mackerel negotiations. As the EU and Norway instead agreed on a bilateral arrangement for the 2010 season, the Faroese were left with no other alternative than to set their own quota.

    The Faroe Shipowners’ Association adds that much of the debate surrounding the current mackerel issue has been misguided, in particular the anger directed at the Faroe Islands and Iceland over the lack of international agreement on the management of the mackerel stock.

    The Faroe Shipowners’ Association, which represents all larger Faroese fishing vessels, says it supports the position taken by the Faroese government, asserting it has “acted both sensibly and responsibly” by setting the Faroese mackerel quota in accordance with its requested share of the international quota as calculated from the scientifically advised total allowable catch (TAC) of 572,000 tonnes.

    “We did not leave the mackerel agreement as some have alleged but were rather excluded from it in the bilateral deal struck between the EU and Norway,” Faroe Shipowners’ Association chairman Viberg Sørensen says.

    In response to various unflattering claims raised by pelagic industry voices in Scotland and Norway, Mr. Sørensen points out that the Faroese mackerel fishery is fully legal and thoroughly regulated. He adds that fisheries form the basis of the entire Faroese economy, making the country highly dependent on sound fisheries management.

    Mr. Sørensen says that the question of the increasing presence of mackerel in Faroese waters has been raised earlier with Norway and the EU and the Faroese government has made several attempts through negotiations to increase the Faroese share of the quota, however so far without results.

    “Between themselves alone, the EU and Norway allotted themselves ten percent more than the total catch recommended by ICES for the entire mackerel stock — disregarding any share for the Faroes, Iceland, or Russia. Viewed in this light, the steps taken to blockade our ships from landing, not to mention the proposed boycott of our seafood exports, are manifestly unfair.”

    “Our government can hardly be blamed for the collapse of the multilateral negotiations this year,” he says. “They tried as late as in June to reach an agreement for 2010 but to no avail. They have acted both sensibly and responsibly in a difficult situation. Now we hope all of the coastal states will do their part to ensure that an agreement will be reached for the 2011 season.”

    Pointing to changed geographic features of the migratory mackerel stock, the Faroese demand a 15-percent share of an internationally managed quota, rejecting the five-percent share offered in earlier arrangements.

    Mr. Sørensen adds: “There is a growing body of scientific evidence confirming what we’ve known for years — that this mackerel stock has become more and more present in our waters and now even spawns here. So it would only be reasonable to take such evidence into account in a revision of the quota sharing principles used in the international mackerel arrangement.”

    Dismissing recent accusations of irresponsibility and unlawfulness against the Faroese, Mr. Sørensen says: “It should borne in mind that the Faroese mackerel fishery takes place within the Faroese exclusive economic zone, under a rigorously regulated fisheries management regime, with responsibly set quotas and a host of technical restrictions. This is a fully legitimate fishery that can in no way be associated with any illicit activity.”

    The Faroese EEZ is widely regarded as one of the world’s best managed fishing zones with an overall compliance rate that ranks among the highest. For example, the discarding of mackerel, or any other marketable fish, is strictly prohibited and its occurrence is virtually non-existent.

    “Every boat that catches mackerel has a license from the government to do so with clearly defined limits to the fishing,” Mr. Sørensen says, “and every kilogram caught is reported along with information on fishing location, time, and vessel.”

    Whether in biological, social, or economic terms, the Faroese have every reason to ensure the viability and long-term stability of their commercial fisheries. Hardly any country is seen to have a more clear and unambiguous motive than the Faroe Islands to make sure that the fisheries on which the life of the tiny nation depends are managed responsibly and sustainably.

    “Good fisheries management is not an option but a necessity of life here,” Mr. Sørensen says.

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    Default Iceland and Faroes mackerel quota action 'unacceptable'

    http://www.fishnewseu.com/latest-new...cceptable.html

    Quote Originally Posted by fishnewseu
    Tuesday, 10 August 2010 11:37

    SCOTTISH Fisheries Secretary Richard Lochhead today described the decision of both the Governments of Iceland and the Faroe Islands to award arbitrary fishing quota for mackerel as extremely damaging and irresponsible.



    At the end of July, the Faroe Islands set a quota for mackerel of 85,000 tonnes for this year, which is 15 per cent of the recommended global total allowable catch (TAC) and far in excess of their previous four per cent share. This follows a recent decision by Iceland to declare themselves a quota of 130,000 tonnes.

    This level of fishing is likely to have a detrimental impact on the fishery and impact on the sustainability of the stock. It will undermine Scottish mackerel fishing, the first large-scale mackerel fishery in Europe to be accredited by the Marine Stewardship Council.

    Richard Lochhead said: "By setting a unilateral mackerel TAC far in excess of their previous share, both the Faroe Islands and Iceland have taken short-sighted and selfish decisions that could be disastrous for global mackerel stocks. Scotland is at the fore of promoting responsible, sustainable fishing practices therefore these unacceptable actions are deeply frustrating for Scottish fishermen.

    "I'm pleased that the EU has now publicly denounced these extremely damaging and irresponsible actions by both countries. I am greatly encouraged by the commitment being shown by the EU on this and hope that these matters will be at the fore of Iceland's EU accession negotiations.

    "Mackerel is one of the most sustainable fisheries thanks to the action that Scotland and other EU member states have taken to successfully manage stocks. This is now being put at risk by the irresponsible actions of Iceland and the Faroes."

    Richard Lochhead has been working closely with Richard Benyon, UK Fisheries Minister, and the European Commission to find a solution to this issue. Both Richard Lochhead and Richard Benyon have written to European Fisheries Commissioner Maria Damanaki to raise their shared concerns. Mr Lochhead welcomes the subsequent announcement by the Commissioner voicing the EU objections to the actions taken by Iceland and the Faroe Islands.

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