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Herring catch. The Farao Islands will be sanctioned by the end of the month unless their position as to this fishery changes. (Photo Credit: NOAA)

Iceland may be sanctioned by EU for mackerel fishing

Wednesday, July 17, 2013, 02:20 (GMT + 9)

The Faroe Islands will face sanctions by the end of the month, unless they change their tactics as to fishing for Atlanto-Scandian herring. And the European authorities could adopt a similar measure imposed on Iceland for mackerel fishing.

Scotland and some key Member States have exercised pressure on the European Commission (EC) for sanctions to be implemented on Iceland due to mackerel overfishing. This situation has led to conflicts between the EC President, Jose Manuel Barroso, and the Icelandic Prime Minister, Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsson, who argues that the EU sanctions do not conform to WTO rules and are not legal.

Barroso ensures the sustainability of mackerel fishing is crucial, that the stock is now in danger due to overfishing and said that while the EU wanted a "negotiated agreement" and therefore "could not support unilateral actions by our partner countries."

Meanwhile, Gunnlaugsson insists Iceland has shown a willingness to lower its quotas two years in-a-row.

The EU fisheries commissioner Maria Damanaki agrees action is needed to be taken urgently if the mackerel fishery sustainability is to be guaranted.

"We cannot permit unilateral actions that can destroy the stocks," Commissioner Damanaki told reporters after a meeting of EU fisheries ministers in Brussels which ended late on Monday. "We cannot wait until next year, we have to take action now. But about our concrete actions and what we're going to do, more information will be provided by the end of this month," she pointed out.

For his part, Minister of Environment and Climate Change in Scotland, Paul Wheelhouse, welcomed the progress made by the European ministers.

"Today's progress on trade measures against both Faroe Islands and Iceland will be welcome news for Scotland's fishermen.

“For far too long the unsustainable fishing of both these nations has gone un-checked and our fishermen, who have been fishing sustainably, have been paying the price.

"Mackerel is Scotland's most valuable fish stock and it is important for the health of our fishing industry as well as the health of the fish stocks that the reckless plundering of the stock comes to an end." 

Related article:

- Trade sanction measures against Faroes could be implemented within a month



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