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  1. #31
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    Default Iceland says it wants to end mackerel dispute

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

    Quote Originally Posted by fishupdate
    ICELAND'S Fisheries Minister said today that his country wants to reach an agreement with the European Union and Norway over its controversial mackerel quota.

    Mr John Bjarnason told the BBC Radio 4 Today programme this morning that he did not want the dispute to drag on and was willing to negotiate with other coastal states that are affected - notably Scotland, Ireland and Norway. He added: "The mackerel is there in huge amounts and we are allowed to fish for it."

    Any negotiations on behalf of Scotland and Ireland would have to be carried out through the EU, and the European Fisheries Commissioner Maria Damanaki is due to visit Iceland and the Faroe Islands in the next few weeks to try to reach a settlement.

    Iceland has given itself a unilateral mackerel quota of 130,000 tons and the Faroe Islands 85,000 tons which Scotland and Ireland says threatens to seriously damage the stock. Last week a Faroese mackerel trawler was turned away from Peterhead harbour after a blockade by local fishermen. There have also been calls to boycott all Icelandic and Faroese fish and seafood products.

    Scottish Fisheries Secretary Richard Lochhead told the Today programme this morning that the Icelandic and Faroese quotas were too large and threatened the fishery. "The reason there is so much mackerel at the moment is because it has been well managed," he added. He said mackerel was worth £135 million a year to the Scottish economy. Mr Lochhead also warned that there could be serious consequences for Iceland and the Faroe Islands if they did not reach a settlement.

  2. #32
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    Default Mackerel quota row is serious issue for UK Government, says Benyon

    http://www.fishnewseu.com/latest-new...ys-benyon.html

    Quote Originally Posted by fishnewseu
    Thursday, 26 August 2010 15:50



    UK FISHERIES Minister Richard Benyon said tonight that the actions of Iceland and Faroe over mackerel quotas are being taken “very seriously” by the UK Government.

    He also echoed Scottish Fisheries Minister Richard Lochhead by accusing both countries of behaving irresponsibly and undermining the sustainability of the mackerel stock.

    Mr Benyon added:

    “As the UK Fisheries Minister I am working with the Minister for Europe and the European Commission, who I know share my concerns, to explore all available options to find a solution that is fair for our fishermen and which keeps the mackerel stock on a sustainable basis.

    “We need a long term agreement with all relevant countries and I will meet with industry representatives and the Scottish Government to discuss the UK position on this issue in the autumn negotiations."

    Meanwhile, Scottish Conservative MEP Struan Stevenson tonight hit back at an MSP who accused him of “childish name calling” in the row over mackerel quotas.

    Liam McArthur, a Member of the Scottish Parliament for the Orkney Islands, launched the "unprovoked attack" in the midst of a campaign which has so far seen unity among Scottish politicians, Mr Stevenson contended.

    Mr Stevenson has called for a blockade of Icelandic and Faroese vessels and a ban on imports from the two countries if they refuse to back down from taking excessive mackerel quotas.

    Iceland has increased its quota 6500%, from 2,000 to 130,000 tonnes, while the Faroe Islands have more than tripled their catch from 25,000 to 85,000 tonnes. The sums fly in face of scientific advice and threaten the mackerel stock’s long-term health, the countries' critics maintain.

    The move prompted Mr Stevenson to liken the actions of the two North Atlantic nations to “plundering Vikings”.

    Mr Stevenson said tonight :

    “Liam McArthur should not jeopardise the united front shown so far in Scotland on this crucial issue with ill-advised party political attacks.

    “Were it not for my highlighting of this issue and championing of Scottish fishermen, people like him wouldn’t have a bandwagon to jump on.

    “I am continuing to push at EU level for a solution that doesn’t endanger mackerel stocks and Scotland’s pelagic fleet.

    “But we must not shy away from firm measures such as an EU-wide blockade of Icelandic and Faroese vessels to show them that we mean business. Norway has already acted to this effect and our resolve must be equally great.”

  3. #33
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    Default Iceland fishing minister says scrap EU bid

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

    Quote Originally Posted by fishupdate
    DIVISION appears to be opening up in the Iceland coalition government over the country's plan to join the European Union - with the fishing industry at the heart of it.

    According to media reports coming out of Reykjavik, Iceland's Fisheries Minister Jon Bjarnason has said the time has come to stop the processing Iceland's application for membership of the EU.

    Mr Bjarnason is a member of the Left Geen Party which forms part of the coalition government elected after the economic collapse almost two years ago. The Left Greens are opposed to EU membership, but have said they are prepared to let the issue be decided by the people in a national referendum. The Icelandic press is reporting that the Prime Minister Johanna Sigurdardottir is 'not amused' by her minister's declaration. Her party, the Social Democrats, are strongly in favour of membership of the European club.

    This is not the first time that the fisheries minister has clashed with his own government. Two months ago Mr Bjaranson spoke out against a plan to merge his ministry with the ministry of energy and tourism, arguing that fishing was so vital to Iceland's economic recovery it would be folly to scrap his department now.

    According to opinion polls, opposition to the EU among the population continues to grow and is almost certain to increase further over the current mackerel dispute. Most Icelanders are in favour of their country's decision to give itself a 130,000 ton mackerel quota in defiance of the EU and Norway. They will regards calls to ban Icelandic and Faroese seafood products as an example of Europe once again 'ganging up' on two small and independent minded fishing nations. More moderate voices are hoping the dispute will be settled by negotiation in the autumn.

  4. #34
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    Default Iceland admits 75% of controversial mackerel quota already caught

    http://www.fishnewseu.com/latest-new...dy-caught.html

    Quote Originally Posted by fishnewseu
    Friday, 27 August 2010 13:21

    ICELAND has caused fresh controversy in the ongoing ‘mackerel war’ by admitting it has already landed 75% of its unilateral 130,000 tonne quota.

    Scottish Conservative MEP Struan Stevenson said today the revelation was further proof that tough action was needed to show Iceland and the Faroe Islands that EU nations would not tolerate the irresponsible move.

    Fridrik Arngrímsson, managing director of the Federation of Icelandic Fishing Vessel Owners, told Icelandic newspaper Frettabladid that his members had already caught 100,000 tonnes of mackerel.

    The ‘mackerel war’ started after Iceland increased its 2010 quota by 6500%, from 2,000 to 130,000 tonnes, while the Faroe Islands have more than tripled their catch from 25,000 to 85,000 tonnes.

    The North Atlantic island nations claim they are entitled to do so because the fish have moved into their territorial waters. But quotas for migratory fish are usually set by international agreement, in accordance with scientific advice on the health of stocks.

    The Icelandic and Faroese quotas have been set unilaterally and, it is claimed, threaten the long-term health of the mackerel fishery, which is worth £135m to Scotland alone.

    Ahead of a meeting of the European Parliament’s Fisheries Committee on Monday, Mr Stevenson has written to Carmen Fraga, the committee’s president, calling on her to summon ministers from Iceland and the Faroes to Brussels for talks or alternatively send a delegation to Reykjavik and Torshavn.

    Mr Stevenson said:

    “This shocking admission is further proof that Iceland and the Faroes are pressing ahead with their gigantic quotas while Brussels dithers.

    “If all the North Atlantic nations take their full declared quotas for 2010 – including Iceland and the Faroes’ inflated ones – it will mean one third of all the 2.6million tonnes of mackerel in the North Atlantic will be killed in a single year. This is totally unsustainable.

    “Europe must start getting tough with these nations before serious long-term damage is done to the mackerel fishery and Scotland’s pelagic fleet.

    “I have called for urgent talks, but we must not shy away from a blockade of their vessels and imports as a way of bringing them to their senses.

    “For Iceland, this seems like a short-sighted move ahead of accession talks to join the EU.
    “Brussels must send them a message that this irresponsible act will not go unpunished.”

  5. #35
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    Default Stevenson urges unity on mackerel in the face of political attack

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

    Quote Originally Posted by fishupdate
    Scottish Conservative MEP Struan Stevenson has hit back at an MSP who accused him of “childish name calling” in the row over mackerel quotas with Iceland and the Faroe Islands.

    Liam McArthur, a Member of the Scottish Parliament for the Orkney Islands, launched the unprovoked attack in the midst of a campaign which has so far seen unity among Scottish politicians.

    Mr Stevenson has led the charge for Scottish fishermen at EU level, calling for a blockade of Icelandic and Faroese vessels and a ban on imports from the two countries if they refuse to back down from taking excessive mackerel quotas.

    Iceland has increased its quota 6500%, from 2,000 to 130,000 tonnes, while the Faroe Islands have more than tripled their catch from 25,000 to 85,000 tonnes. The sums fly in face of scientific advice and threaten the mackerel stock’s long-term health.

    The move prompted Mr Stevenson to liken the actions of the two North Atlantic nations to “plundering Vikings”.

    Mr Stevenson said: “Liam McArthur should not jeopardise the united front shown so far in Scotland on this crucial issue with ill-advised party political attacks.

    “Were it not for my highlighting of this issue and championing of Scottish fishermen, people like him wouldn’t have a bandwagon to jump on.

    “I am continuing to push at EU level for a solution that doesn’t endanger mackerel stocks and Scotland’s pelagic fleet.

    “But we must not shy away from firm measures such as an EU-wide blockade of Icelandic and Faroese vessels to show them that we mean business. Norway has already acted to this effect and our resolve must be equally great.”

  6. #36
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    Default European Parliament talks over mackerel catch row

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-11126330

    Quote Originally Posted by BBC
    The escalating row over the right to fish for mackerel in the north Atlantic is to be discussed at the European Parliament later.

    The fisheries committee meeting comes after the blockade of a Faroese vessel by fishermen in Peterhead.

    They are angry boats from the Faroes and Iceland are fishing much larger amounts of mackerel in their own waters and trying to land them in Scotland.

    MEPs will be determining their response to the situation.
    Continue reading the main story
    Related stories

    * Why a 'war' over mackerel?
    * Salmond calls for mackerel action
    * Blockaded fish boat leaves port

    Scottish fishermen say the actions of the Faroese and Icelandic crews will lead to a depletion of mackerel stocks.

    Scottish Conservative MEP Struan Stevenson said ministers from the Faroes and Iceland should go to Brussels to thrash out the problem.

    And he said that if they refuse a delegation should be sent to the two nations before the dispute escalates further.

    He added: "Iceland have actually caught 100,000 tonnes of mackerel, this is no longer a threat to increase their quota by a vast amount, they've actually landed over 100,000 tonnes of mackerel this year.

    "If we go ahead in Scotland and catch our entitlement it means about a third of the total stock of north Atlantic mackerel will be killed in one year."

    Mr Stevenson has already called for an EU-wide blockade of Icelandic and Faroese boats and goods amid the wrangle over quotas.

    He said Iceland and the Faroes were "acting just like their Viking ancestors" by "plundering" stocks.

    Last year mackerel brought £135m into the economy, making it the Scottish fleet's most valuable fish.

  7. #37
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    Default Norwegian and EU credibility at stake over mackerel issue, claim Faroese

    http://www.fishnewseu.com/latest-new...m-faroese.html

    Quote Originally Posted by fishnewseu
    Monday, 30 August 2010 15:46



    THE EU and Norwegian “grab” of 110% of a mackerel quota for themselves questions their credibility, it was claimed today by a Faroese grouping.

    For while some blame Iceland and Faroe for alleged problems in the North East Atlantic mackerel fishery, questions remain over the EU and Norway’s commitment to multilateral co-operation as the mackerel stock gravitates toward the North-west, the Faroese Pelagic Organisation maintained.

    The Faroese move to increase their portion of the quota from 35,000 to 85,000 tonnes, from five to fifteen percent of 570,000 tonnes for the 2010 season, was against the background of evidence of a “remarkable shift” toward the North-west in the migratory mackerel population.This suggested that the Faroese”may indeed rightfully claim a higher share,” the Faroese grouping went on.

    They added that consultations between the mackerel Coastal States fell short of reaching a multilateral agreement for this year with the EU and Norway agreeing on a quota between themselves that “leaves nothing” to the Faroese or the Icelanders, nor for an allocation in international waters through the North East Atlantic Fisheries Commission, where Russia gets its share.

    “Thus the present agreement made between the EU and Norway raises questions of credibility as it allots the two parties as much as 110 percent of the total allowable catch (TAC) of 570,000 tonnes recommended by the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES).

    “Meanwhile the outburst of criticism against the Faroe Islands for setting its own mackerel quota on par with its bid for a raised share in the Coastal State framework baffles the Faroese Pelagic Organisation (FPO).

    “The move by the EU and Norway to first take more than everything for themselves and then blame others for irresponsibility is hardly a testimony to their commitment to responsible management,” said managing director Jógvan Jespersen of the FPO.

    Mr Jespersen said that left out of the agreement, the Faroese could only set their own quota. As they did this in line with their demands at the negotiating table, the Norwegians and the EU reacted with sharp condemnation and anger, meeting with disbelief in the Faroe Islands.

    “We are very disappointed over the decision by the pelagic industry in the EU and Norway to block Faroese vessels from landing mackerel and thereby to terminate their decade-long co-operation with our fleet,” Mr. Jespersen said.

    He underlined his view that all Coastal States parties have a shared responsibility to sort out the differences that sank this year’s mackerel agreement.

    “Indeed the blame pointed at the Faroese is based on the perceived possibility that the future health of the mackerel stock could be in jeopardy given the absence of a comprehensive agreement among the Coastal States. Be that as it may, the EU and Norway certainly must take their share of the responsibility for any failure to restore the multilateral agreement. The Faroese made every effort to reach a negotiated solution and were willing to compromise if necessary.

    “When two parties have differences over an issue, you cannot reach agreement by having the solution dictated by one side. All the countries engaged in this mackerel fishery, not just the Faroes, have a responsibility to make sure the stock is fished responsibly and sustainably.”

    There were two major disagreements at the Coastal States mackerel negotiations for 2010 in Clonakilty last October and in Edinburgh last November, according to Mr Jespersen.

    “First, it turned out that the mackerel had left Norwegian waters earlier than expected, and so the Norwegians were upset at the EU’s refusal to give Norwegian vessels access into EU waters for catching the remaining 70,000 tonnes of their quota. Second, the Faroe Islands demanded a change to the sharing of the quota to reflect the changed geographical distribution of the mackerel stock.”

    The arguments presented by the Faroese are based on a “new consensus” between scientists and fishermen that the juvenile and adult mackerel population has moved increasingly toward the North-west, which means the mackerel is found in Faroese waters to a larger degree than ever and over a longer period of the year.

    Some would argue that the officially recognised scientific data regarding the size of the mackerel stock are based on inadequate methodologies and extremely conservative recommendations on catch, with egg surveys only recently taking place in the now densely populated waters around Iceland and the Faroe Islands. “What’s obvious to everyone here is that the mackerel is booming and the waters are brimming with it,” the FPO added.

    *THE ongoing mackerel dispute will be a central topic on the agenda of the international conference The Pelagic Complex due to take place in Tórshavn, Faroe, from September 7-9, under the auspices of the Nordic Council of Ministers.

    “The conference can pave the way for a fresh understanding of the major pelagic stocks such as herring, blue whiting and not least mackerel,” says Jacob Vestergaard, Faroe Islands’ fisheries minister and host for the conference.

    Planning for the conference began more than a year ago. The Nordic Council of Ministers considers one of its most important tasks is to ensure that fisheries issues are aired properly and openly in the Nordic cooperation. The Council of Ministers has repeatedly stressed how vital fish resources are for all of the Nordic countries.

  8. #38
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    Default Mackerel row peace talks set for Brussels

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

    Quote Originally Posted by fishupdate
    TALKS to try to end the mackerel stand-off between Iceland and the Faroe Islands and the European Union are to be held in Brussels next month, it was announced at the weekend.

    The EU's fisheries spokesman Oliver Drewes said the talks would examine the background to the dispute and the best way of solving it. It is also thought that the EU Fisheries Commissioner Maria Damanaki will visit Reykjavik and the Faroes at some point in the next few weeks to take things forward.

    Mrs Damanaki said she had written a letter to Stefan Füle, the European Commissioner for Enlargement, saying it isn’t possible to justify the mackerel quota of the Icelandic fishing fleet.

    Iceland and the Faroes say they have been excluded from multi-national negotiations on the mackerel fishery. Both countries have therefore set unilateral quotas of 130,000 tons (Iceland) and 85,000 tons (Faroes) which the EU says is too high and will damage the mackerel stock. Oliver Drewes said: “They catch much more than is justifiable for scientific purposes."

    Iceland's Fisheries Minister has said his country is entitled to catch fish within its waters. "It is our right to do so as a coastal state. There is a huge amount of mackerel in the Icelandic fisheries zone, but we also want to come an agreement.

    The Icelandic Fishing Vessel Owners Association say they have as much as right to fish in Icelandic waters as the European Union has in its waters.

    This position has brought fury from Scottish fishermen and Scotland's Fisheries Secretary Richard Lochhead described the decision as "wholly unacceptable", and said it risked harming well-managed stocks of the fish.

  9. #39
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    Default Stevenson to attend mackerel summit

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

    Quote Originally Posted by fishupdate
    Scottish Conservative MEP Struan Stevenson will attend a major summit in the Faroe Islands in a bid to break the deadlock over mackerel quotas.

    Mr Stevenson will represent the European Parliament in Torshavn, the islands’ capital, for the conference on 'The Pelagic Complex in the Northeast Atlantic Ocean' on September 7-9, which will be attended by ministers from the Nordic countries, including Iceland.

    His visit has been authorised by the president of parliament's Fisheries Committee, Carmen Fraga, thanks to his prominent role in highlighting the dispute over quotas, widely dubbed the ‘mackerel war’.

    Officials from the European Commission will also be in attendance.

    The disagreement started after Iceland increased its 2010 quota by 6,500%, from 2,000 to 130,000 tonnes, while the Faroe Islands have more than tripled their catch from 25,000 to 85,000 tonnes.

    Combined with national quotas from Norway and half a dozen EU member states, this could see a third of the entire 2.6 million tonnes of mackerel in the North Atlantic killed in a single year, raising fears of substantial damage to the fishery.

    Last week, Iceland admitted that it had already caught 75% of its inflated quota.

    Norway, which is not a member of the EU, has already banned Icelandic and Faroese vessels from offloading their cargoes in its ports.

    Mr Stevenson said: “Attending the conference will give me the chance to raise our concerns directly with Icelandic and Faroese ministers.

    “I sincerely hope that we can resolve this dispute through negotiation, although given that Iceland has already admitted catching 75% of its massively-increased quota, extreme urgency is now required to prevent a catastrophe in mackerel stocks.

    “I have argued throughout this dispute that we need to negotiate from a position of strength, using the possibility of a blockade of Icelandic and Faroese fishing boats as a bargaining tool just as Norway has done.

    “Some have said this threatens jobs in Scotland, but Iceland and the Faroes have far more to lose, as their economies are heavily dependent on fishing. Of course, we will all suffer if the mackerel fishery is destroyed.

    “I am more than willing to extend the olive branch, but they must know that we mean business.”

  10. #40
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    Default Concerns over Faroese and Icelandic mackerel quotas

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

    Quote Originally Posted by fishupdate
    "We cannot be held to ransom"


    Commenting on the news that the European Parliament Fisheries Committee will be represented at the international mackerel conference in the Faroe Islands next week, to highlight their concerns over Faroese and Icelandic mackerel quotas, Scottish Fisheries Secretary Richard Lochhead said:

    “I welcome the European Parliament's strong statement on the unacceptable overfishing of mackerel by the Icelandic and Faroese fleets. I will be writing to the Committee in advance of the meeting in the Faroe Islands to highlight our concerns and how this issue could impact on the Scottish fleet and Scotland’s fishing communities.

    “I am working closely with Commissioner Damanaki and the UK Fisheries Minister to ensure a resolution is found. We cannot be held to ransom and I believe an early meeting between the European Commission and Iceland and the Faroes will be vital. We need everyone back around the negotiating table and to come to a reasonable agreement as soon as possible."

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