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  1. #301
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    http://www.sff.co.uk/node/799


    Scots fishermen urge EC to impose sanctions against Iceland and the Faroes due to their over-fishing of mackerel

    12 May 2013

    With mackerel being one of the topics on the agenda for discussion at tomorrow’s (13 May) European Fish Council meeting in Brussels, Scottish fishermen are urging the European Commission to use the occasion to finally impose sanctions against Iceland and the Faroes for their continuing and significant over-fishing of the north-east Atlantic mackerel stock.

    While measures for trade sanctions on imports of certain fishery products from Iceland and the Faroes have already been agreed upon, the EC has yet to actually implement the plan. The Scottish Pelagic Fishermen’s Association (SPFA) says the time for ‘heel dragging’ is over and the EC must act now, especially since the mackerel catching season is about to begin.

    Ian Gatt, SPFA chief executive, said: “We are becoming increasingly exasperated by the failure of the EU to impose sanctions and it is extremely disappointing that they are dragging their feet on this issue.

    “This dispute has dragged on now for four years and we are still no nearer reaching a fair and equitable deal due to the intransigence of Iceland and the Faroes. At tomorrow’s Council meeting, it is vital that the Scottish and UK fisheries ministers press the Commission to impose a sanctions package.

    “The introduction of sanctions would send a clear and unequivocal message that the actions of Iceland and the Faroes will not be tolerated by the responsible international community. We believe that the imposition of sanctions would help focus minds and provide the spur that ensures Iceland and the Faroes return to the negotiating table so as to reach a fair and balanced deal.”
    Date:
    Sunday, May 12, 2013

  2. #302
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    Still NOT strong enough , the ONLY way to get Iceland and the Faroes to stop this overfishing is to ban ALL fish imports into the EU , even ban the use of freezers in Holland ( Faroes has 30,000+tonnes of frozen Mackerel stored there ) and definitely no through transhipping

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotlan...iness-22519163

    Faroe herring sanctions welcomed

    European Commission sanctions on Faroe to help conserve Atlantic herring stocks have been welcomed by Scotland's government and fishing industry.

    The measures could stop the import of herring into the EU from Faroe and prevent Faroese herring boats landing.

    The commission is also preparing legal advice on similar sanctions for mackerel on both Iceland and Faroe.

    Faroe withdrew from internationally-agreed herring quotas in January.

    Instead it set its own unilateral quota.

    Sanctions against Faroe were agreed at the EU Fishing Council in Brussels, where the action was discussed after a request by Scotland's Fishing Minister Richard Lochhead.
    Continue reading the main story
    “Start Quote

    It is disappointing that no firm action has yet been agreed in relation to Iceland and Faroe consistent over fishing mackerel, and I hope that will come shortly”

    Richard Lochhead Scottish fishing minister

    Speaking after the meeting, Mr Lochhead said: "It is good news that at long last we have real movement towards sanctions that will see the irresponsible fishing of Faroe punished.

    "The sanctions discussed today will stop the sale of unsustainably caught herring in EU markets as well as stopping EU boats fishing for herring unsustainably under the Faroese flag. This should help reduce the damage inflicted to date on our fish stocks.

    "Our fishermen fully deserve the protection these sanctions will give them. But it is disappointing that no firm action has yet been agreed in relation to Iceland and Faroe consistent over fishing mackerel, and I hope that will come shortly."

    The minister said he hoped the action on herring would persuade Faroe and Island to get back round the table - with an international mediator if necessary - and agree a long-term deal to ensure future protection of stocks and the future viability of Scotland's fishing fleet.
    'Urgent meeting'

    Ian Gatt, chief executive of the Scottish Pelagic Fishermen's Association, welcomed what he called a "first step" towards delivering sanctions against Faroe for its over-fishing of herring.

    He added: "We believe that any sanctions brought against Faroe for the over-fishing of the Atlanto-Scandian herring stock should also apply to mackerel because they catch both species together in what is essentially a mixed fishery.

    "We are disappointed there has been no significant further movement with regards to implementing sanctions against both Iceland and the Faroes for their over-catching of mackerel.

    "In the case of Iceland, we urge the EC to seek an urgent meeting with the new Icelandic government to try and get the negotiating process moving again.

    "If this does not happen, then sanctions must immediately be implemented as a matter of course because every other avenue will have been reasonably explored without there being any breakthrough in resolving this dispute."

  3. #303
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    http://www.fishupdate.com/news/fulls...n_herring.html

    Europe agrees sanctions on herring
    Published: 14 May, 2013

    Sanctions to conserve herring stocks and help protect the livelihoods of Scottish fishermen have been outlined by EU Commission.

    The EU sanctions on Faroe in relation to herring could:

    * Prevent import of herring into the EU

    * Prevent vessels that fish for herring landing into the EU

    * Prevent EU vessels going to fish for herring in Faroese waters

    The Commission are preparing further legal advice on similar sanctions in relation to mackerel on both Iceland and Faroe. They will also seek an early meeting to discuss the situation with the new Icelandic Government.

    Speaking from EU Fishing Council in Brussels, where the action was discussed after his request to add it to the agenda, Scotland's Fishing Minister Richard Lochhead said: "It is good news that at long last we have real movement towards sanctions that will see the irresponsible fishing of Faroe punished.

    "The sanctions discussed on Monday will stop the sale of unsustainably caught herring in EU markets as well as stopping EU boats fishing for herring unsustainably under the Faroese flag. This should help reduce the damage inflicted to date on our fish stocks.

    "Our fishermen fully deserve the protection these sanctions will give them. But it is disappointing that no firm action has yet been agreed in relation to Iceland and Faroe consistent over fishing mackerel, and I hope that will come shortly.

    "A number of states expressed extreme frustration over the Commission's lack of action to date, so the Commissioner's movement today couldn't have come soon enough.

    "I hope that this action on herring will persuade Faroe and Iceland to get back round the table - with an international mediator if necessary - and agree a long-term deal to ensure future protection of stocks and future viability of Scotland's fishing fleet."

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

    Herring sanctions plan welcomed
    Published: 14 May, 2013

    Ian Gatt

    On Monday’s (13 May) European Union Fish Council meeting in Brussels, the EC outlined a scheme to impose sanctions against the Faroes for its over-fishing of herring.

    Ian Gatt, chief executive of the Scottish Pelagic Fishermen’s Association, said following the meeting: “We welcome this first step towards delivering a sanctions measure against the Faroese for their over-fishing of herring, which hopefully will provide new impetus that will also help resolve the issue of their excessive catching of mackerel.

    “We believe that any sanctions brought against Faroe for the over-fishing of the Atlanto-Scandian herring stock should also apply to mackerel because they catch both species together in what is essentially a mixed fishery.

    “We are disappointed there has been no significant further movement with regards to implementing sanctions against both Iceland and the Faroes for their over-catching of mackerel. In the case of Iceland, we urge the EC to seek an urgent meeting with the new Icelandic Government to try and get the negotiating process moving again.

    "If this does not happen, then sanctions must immediately be implemented as a matter of course because every other avenue will have been reasonably explored without there being any breakthrough in resolving this dispute.”

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

    Danish (and Scottish) frustration over lack of action on mackerfel and herring dispute
    Published: 14 May, 2013

    DANISH fishermen, who have been pressing for sanctions against the Faroe islands and Iceland over their mackerel policies, have been receiving mixed messages about possible sanctions against these two countries.

    A few weeks ago they were told that EU measures against the two countries were not around the corner. The Danish Fishermen's Association expressed strong criticisms of the European Union at its annual meeting a few weeks ago over its reluctance to impose sanctions against the two rebel states.

    The Danish Food Minister Mette Gjerskov, who attended the Danish Federation's annual meeting, said she could not promise that sanctions such as a ban on Icelandic and Faroese fish or seafood products, was close at hand, adding they could still be some time away.

    However, the Federation has now learned that the EU Commission is actively working to impose trade sanctions against the Faroe Islands (no mention of Iceland as yet), but not because of its self-imposed mackerel quota.

    Apparently the EU could be preparing to hit the 50,000 people who live in the Faroes over the government's decision to treble the size of its Atlanto Scandian herring quota, a move which has also angered the Norwegians. This decision has been described as "irresponsible". EU Fisheries Commissioner aired the possibility of sanctions at a recent meeting of the European Parliament.

    Esben Jensen, a director of the Danish Pelagic Fish Producers Organisation, said it was quite reasonable for the EU to put some pressure on the Faroese on this issue.

    But the Faroese Fisheries Minister Jacob Vestergaard describe comments by the EU Fisheries Commissioner Maria Damanaki as "misleading and incomplete". He said his country had been excluded from negotiations over the way the quota should be divided.

    Meanwhile, the mackerel dispute involving Iceland and Faroe was top of the agenda when EU fisheries ministers met in Brussels yesterday. Scottish fishermen are growing increasingly impatient over the lack of action. As the Brussels meeting took place, the Scottish Pelagic Fishermen's Association accused the EU of dragging its feet in the matter.

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    http://www.sff.co.uk/node/802


    Scottish fishermen welcome upgrade by Marine Conservation Society of mackerel ‘Fish to Eat’ listing

    16 May 2013

    Commenting on the news that the Marine Conservation Society has moved to upgrade its ‘Fish to Eat’ rating for Scottish caught mackerel so as to differentiate it from mackerel caught by Iceland and the Faroes, Ian Gatt, chief executive of the Scottish Pelagic Fishermen’s Association, said:

    “We are pleased that the Marine Conservation Society has made this important differentiation between Scottish caught mackerel compared with that from Iceland and the Faroes. This new assessment will enable consumers to make informed choices when purchasing mackerel.

    “Scottish mackerel and herring fishermen are committed to sustainable catching as is highlighted by the fact that all our herring fisheries are Marine Stewardship Council certified. We also spearheaded the MSC certification of our north-east Atlantic mackerel fishery, which remains within the MSC programme but is currently suspended through no fault of our own because of the over-fishing of the stock by Iceland and the Faroes. In the meantime, we have put in place a corrective action plan that abides by a code of best practice developed by the Mackerel Industry Northern Sustainability Alliance (MINSA) on behalf of the Scottish Pelagic Sustainability Group to ensure the sustainable catching of mackerel.”

  7. #307
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    http://www.fishupdate.com/news/fulls...and_Faroe.html

    MSC re-rates mackerel caught outside Iceland and Faroe
    Published: 16 May, 2013

    The Marine Conservation Society (MCS) has refined its ratings for mackerel to help consumers differentiate better between the various fisheries involved in catching this once-sustainable seafood favourite.

    With the Faroe Islands and Iceland still continuing to set mackerel quotas outside of international agreements and scientific advice, MCS has separated out these fisheries to encourage consumers to source the most sustainable mackerel caught by the EU and Norway.

    In January MCS removed all mackerel, an oily fish, which is packed with Omega 3, from its ‘Fish to Eat’ list and rated it as a fish to eat only occasionally. The change in fortunes for the species came about as a the result of overfishing of the stock and the subsequent suspension of the north east Atlantic stock’s Marine Stewardship Council certification, meaning it was no longer considered a sustainable fishery.

    Mackerel caught by EU and Norwegian vessels remains a “fish to eat with caution” and has a three rating, whilst the highly sustainable South West hand-line fishery, caught using traditional methods by fisherman off the Cornish coast, now qualifies as a ‘Fish to Eat’ and is rated two.

    MINSA (Mackerel Industry Northern Sustainability Alliance) countries – the EU and Norway - are committed to a binding long-term fisheries management agreement with strict quotas for their vessels to ensure the long term health of the stock, based on ICES (International Council for the Exploration of the Sea) advice. Fish caught in these fisheries are rated three, as a fish to eat “with caution”.

    Neither Iceland nor the Faeroes have entered an equivalent long-term international management plan. Their total catch is now far in excess of what has been scientifically recommended and previously agreed upon by all participating countries. Without a solution, the North East Atlantic mackerel stock is set to be overfished to the tune of 200,000 tonnes annually. To reflect the aggressive quota increases from both these nations and their failings in less selective fishing practices, both have been rated four.

    The MCS ratings show:

    Best Choice: Cornish hand-line caught mackerel (2)

    Best Alternative: UK / EU / Norwegian pelagic caught mackerel (3)

    Least Sustainable: Icelandic and Faroese pelagic caught mackerel (4)

    MCS Fisheries and Aquaculture Programme Manager, Jim Masters, says the revised ratings reflect the current uncertain situation within the mackerel industry: “There appears to be no end in sight to the political tug-of-war over mackerel in the North East Atlantic, and MCS remains very concerned for the fish stocks that have been caught in the middle. These ratings better reflect the damaging effect the political stand-off is having on mackerel stocks and the wider marine environment. The political impasse is playing a dangerous game with fish stocks, resulting in the twin perils of poor fisheries management and increasing levels of by-catch.”

    Jim Masters says the best choice for mackerel remains fish caught locally using traditional hand lining methods: “It’s without doubt the most sustainable method of fishing for mackerel and other species. It is labour intensive but produces quality fish which should attract a premium price. Any market flooded with poor quality fish that drives down both prices and sustainability is bad news for everyone”.

    Consumers can get the very latest sustainable seafood advice by logging on to www.fishonline.org where the latest Pocket Good Fish Guide can also be downloaded allowing shoppers to take the most up-to-date advice with them to the fish counter.

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

    Icelanders unimpressed with MCS decision

    ICELAND's Ministry of Fisheries has released a statement refuting the seven reasons why its mackerel have been downgraded by the Marine Conservation Society (MCS), as they feel that the justifications for the low rating appear to reflect inaccurate information.

    The Government of Iceland also hopes to meet with the MCS as soon as possible to discuss Iceland's sustainable fishing practices, explore opportunities to conduct research together and identify policies to best manage the mackerel stock.

    The government's refutations to the claims are as follows:

    MCS Claim 1: Iceland has never been in or applied for certification under the MSC programme.

    Iceland works with numerous independent international fishing and marine organisations to ensure its fishing practices are sustainable, including the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES). The Marine Research Institute of Iceland and Iceland Responsible Fisheries also play an important role in providing scientific evidence and setting strong standards to ensure the health of the stock. In addition, some Icelandic fisheries participate in Marine Stewardship Council programmes, though not yet for mackerel, which has only appeared in catchable numbers in Iceland's waters in recent years.

    MCS Claim 2: Declared catches far in excess of scientific recommendations.

    The EU, including Scotland, and Norway have claimed 90 percent of the recommended 2013 catch level, leaving only 10 percent for Iceland, the Faroe Islands and Russia combined. This is simply not realistic or reasonable. Their decision was made unilaterally and behind closed doors, despite independent research showing that up to 30 percent of the mackerel stock was in Iceland's Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) in 2012. This continued the massive growth in the size of the mackerel population in our waters. Iceland however cut its 2013 mackerel catch by 15 percent and is prepared to cut further if other countries agree to do so as well.

    MCS Claim 3: Unilaterally drastically increased declared landings from historically 0-6% to 23% of the total recommended catch for all nations.

    The increase in the Icelandic mackerel catch is a result of the massive increase of the mackerel population in Icelandic waters. Scientific research issued this week by the University of British Columbia on shifting fish habitats caused by changing water temperatures confirmed that mackerel are moving from Norway's waters to Iceland's. The simple fact is that there had been no or very few mackerel of Iceland's coasts in the past, whereas now there are many. Even though up to 30 percent of the stock inhabits our waters, we still reduced our 2013 catch by 15 percent.

    MCS Claim 4: Fishery is operating outside of a recognised ICES science based management plan.

    Iceland partners with ICES and other independent international groups to understand the mackerel stock's behaviour, track its location and numbers, and set sustainable fishing levels that will ensure the long-term health of the stock. This includes participation in the Nordic trawlers surveys jointly conducted by Iceland, Norway and the Faroe Islands which have confirmed the rapid increase in the mackerel population in Iceland's waters. We hope the EU, including Scotland, will reverse its policy of non-participation in this vital fisheries management plan. All of our fishing quotas are based on a deep analysis of scientific data and careful collaboration with recognised experts.

    MCS Claim 5: Following 15 rounds of high level international negotiations Iceland have left the table leaving negotiations in stalemate.

    This is simply not true. Iceland has never left the negotiation table and has continually offered fair and reasonable proposals to the Coastal States during negotiations that would implement mackerel quota reductions for all countries. These proposals have all been rejected. Demonstrating its willingness to return to the negotiating table and find a fair solution, Iceland has called for renewed talks amongst the Coastal States on many occasions in 2013. We find the Marine Conservation Society's statement on this point confusing, and kindly ask, once again, that the Coastal States re-join us at the table with good-faith proposals for consideration.

    MCS Claim 6: Reports of high levels of mixed Herring catches with Mackerel as fishing takes place during feeding season.

    The fishing of herring in Iceland is closely regulated and abides to all international agreements. There is no scientific evidence that shows otherwise. The country has one of the most intense surveillance programmes in the world, with greater oversight and scrutiny than EU countries, and catch levels are automatically updated online on a constant basis to ensure full transparency. Iceland welcomes the opportunity to educate the Marine Conservation Society about its mixed catch policies and efforts to protect all stocks.

    MCS Claim 7: High volume of reportedly poorer quality fish from this fishery is driving down prices depending on market and product.

    The Marine Conservation Society has no factual evidence to back this claim. Iceland would welcome scientific research on this topic. In fact, the prices Iceland receives for its mackerel are generally high, reflecting its high-quality reputation in the market.

    Meanwhile Icleand's Steingrímur J Sigfússon, Minister of Industries and Innovation, said: "We are disappointed by the Marine Conservation Society's decision to re-list Icelandic mackerel as 'fish to avoid' for consumers while upgrading European mackerel . This unreasonable move toward Icelandic mackerel does not consider the scientific facts of the debate and Iceland's repeated efforts to find a fair solution to mackerel fishing quotas. Because the Marine Conservation Society did not engage with Iceland's government or Iceland Responsible Fisheries prior to issuing its ratings, we hope to meet with the organisation as soon as possible to explain how Iceland is protecting the mackerel stock by reducing our catch and fishing using sustainable practices, and to explore opportunities to collaborate on research and fisheries management policy."

    "The portion of the total mackerel stock inhabiting Iceland's waters has increased massively from 23 percent in 2010 and 2011 to 30 per cent in 2012. Despite this, the EU and Norway met behind closed doors to jointly claim 90 per cent of the recommended 2013 total mackerel catch, a significantly oversized portion which left only 10 per cent for Iceland, the Faroe Islands and Russia combined. According to international law, Iceland, like the other Coastal States, has an incontestable right to a fair portion of this shared fish stock, particularly to ensure that overpopulation does not damage our marine ecosystem."

    "Iceland has repeatedly come to the negotiating table with fair, science-based quota proposals. These have all been rejected. In addition, we have made a number of public and private requests to reconvene the Coastal States for negotiations. Despite the silence from the EU (including Scotland) and Norway after these requests, Iceland cut its 2013 mackerel catch by 15 per cent and committed to cut further if other countries do as well. Iceland's government and fishing industry are eager to find a solution as soon as possible and again ask the Coastal States to return to the negotiating table in good faith.

    "Protecting the Northeast Atlantic mackerel stock is the responsibility of all Coastal States. Iceland has partnered with the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) and other research institutes to ensure that science drives our decisions about fishing levels and techniques. Blaming one or two parties to the dispute, as the Marine Conservation Society has done, will confuse consumers and will not help to secure an agreement between all Coastal States."

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    http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/...0DY25I20130517

    EU may close ports to Faroese vessels in herring dispute

    * Threat in response to "unsustainable" fishing quotas

    * Sanctions could also include EU ban on herring imports

    * Move raises likelihood of sanctions in mackerel dispute

    BRUSSELS, May 17 (Reuters) - The European Union is considering closing its ports to fishing vessels from the Faroe Islands in protest at a sharp increase in herring quotas set by the self-governing Danish territory, the European Commission said on Friday.

    The threat follows a decision by the Faroe Islands to more than double its herring quota in 2013, despite scientific calls for a 26 percent cut in overall catches of a stock it shares jointly with the European Union, Russia, Norway and Iceland.

    The Commission said the quota decision threatened the sustainability of herring stocks, and warned that it was also considering banning Faroese herring imports to Europe - its main export market. The Faroe Islands are not part of the EU.

    The Faroese authorities have said the higher quota is justified by an increase in the number of herring in their waters, as well as the traditionally low share of catches assigned to them - equivalent to about 5 percent of the total.

    The latest move by the European Union increases the likelihood that it will adopt similar sanctions against the Faroe Islands and Iceland in a long-running dispute over mackerel quotas, which have drawn comparisons with the "cod wars" of the 1950s and 1970s between Britain and Iceland.

    The European Union gave itself greater powers to impose sanctions on foreign fishing fleets last year, after Iceland and the Faroe Islands massively increased their annual quotas in response to an explosion in mackerel stocks in their waters.

    The Commission has given the Faroe Islands one month to respond, after which it will ask EU governments to formally approve the sanctions. (Reporting by Charlie Dunmore; editing by Luke Baker)

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

    MCS’s mackerel rating challenged by Icelandic vessel owners
    Published: 20 May, 2013

    The Federation of the Icelandic Fishing Vessel Owners has condemned the Marine Conservation Society’s decision to rate Icelandic mackerel fisheries as least sustainable.

    According to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, the four coastal states, Iceland, the EU, the Faroe Islands and Norway, have the right to fish for mackerel, says FIFVO.

    “This fishing of mackerel by Icelandic vessels in Icelandic waters is just as legitimate as is the fishing of mackerel by EU vessels in EU waters,” says a statement from the organisation.

    “It is necessary to keep in mind that the migration pattern of the mackerel has changed with a substantial part of the stock feeding in Icelandic waters.

    “Thus, a joint scientific survey conducted by Iceland, Norway and the Faroe Islands documented the presence of approx. 1.5 million tons of mackerel in Icelandic waters in 2012.

    “There is no justification for classifying the Icelandic mackerel fisheries as “non sustainable fishing” when EU and Norway unilaterally claim more than 90% of the TAC recommended by scientists, leaving less than 10% to Iceland, Faroe Islands and Russia combined.

    “Iceland cut its 2013 mackerel quota by 15% in line with ICES recommendation. Iceland has long advocated international agreement on the management and sustainable harvesting of the mackerel stock.

    “To this end, Iceland has repeatedly proposed that all parties reduce their catches so that the total catch will be brought in line with the ICES advice.

    “Unfortunately, this has not been agreed to by EU and Norway. Icelandic Fishing Vessel Owners strongly encourage the MCS to improve their information gathering and to strive for fact based and impartial rating of fisheries. “

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