Fishing purse seiner 'Faxi RE-9.' (Photo: Faxi blog)
Brussels agrees to sanction Iceland, Faroes
Friday, September 28, 2012, 03:40 (GMT + 9)
Sanctions to penalise mackerel overfishing by Iceland and the Faroe Islands were finally been given formal agreement in Brussels this week. Members of the European Union (EU) Ministerial Council, however, disagreed on how to proceed – this is the most notable news, said Icelandic Minister for Foreign Affairs Össur Skarphéðinsson.
“Two nations, that are among the largest in fisheries, Denmark and Germany, did not think it right to approve the proposal and abstained,” Össur told the Icelandic newspaper Fréttablaðið.
Denmark’s government earlier this week turned in an extensive protocol in which the country reserved the right to refer actions that may be directed towards the Faroe Islands -- an autonomous region of Denmark -- to the European Court.
|Minister Ossur Skarpheoinsson (Photo: MFA.is)
“If that is the conclusion on the Faroe Islands, the same must apply to Iceland,” Össur surmised, Iceland Review reports.
He said he does not approve of European Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Maria Damanaki’s agreement with Norway in the mackerel dispute.
“I did not find it pleasing to see and hear Damanaki speak like a public relations officer for our friends and cousins the Norwegians and declare that they side with them in this war. I find it absolutely impossible that Norway would partake in something that doesn’t coincide completely with the EEA agreement,” Össur concluded.
The European Parliament adopted sanctions against Iceland and the Faroes pertaining to accusations of mackerel overfishing on 12 September.
Meanwhile, the Commission informed that scientific advice due out at the end of this week will probably recommend a cut in mackerel quotas for 2013.
"It is simply infuriating that overfishing of mackerel by Iceland and the Faroes could lead to Scottish fishermen facing reduced quotas,” Scotland's Fishing Minister Richard Lochhead said. “The current negotiating framework and Europe's lack of urgency is failing to protect a vital fishery and is threatening Scottish jobs. Now we are left in a very complex and difficult place.”
Ian Gatt, chief executive of the Scottish Pelagic Fishermen’s Association (SPFA), is urging Brussels to take swift action and implement the sanctions.
New mackerel talks for 2013 are set to commence in October.
- Council adopts measures against unsustainable fishing
- Latest mackerel talks fail to reach agreement
- Scotland once more prioritises mackerel dispute
By Natalia Real