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Mackerel landing. (Photo Credit: newlynharbour.co.uk)

Northwest Atlantic mackerel stock agreement brings about mixed feelings

EUROPEAN UNION
Friday, March 14, 2014, 23:50 (GMT + 9)

There have been mixed feelings as to the agreement for the Northeast Atlantic mackerel stock signed in London after years of heavy dispute and intense negotiations between the European Union (EU), Norway and the Faroe Islands.

The Northern Pelagic Working Group (NPWG), who welcomed this three-party agreement as the first step towards joint management, admitted that the Faroe Islands had jeopardized the mackerel stock by setting autonomous quota on top of the scientific advice, unlike the other two parties.

“I can only conclude that the irresponsible behaviour by the Faroe Islands has paid off for them. Their share has increased from 4.6 per cent to 12.6 per cent. This sets a bad precedence for the future as most of the pelagic stocks in the N E Atlantic are shared and jointly managed,” Gerard van Balsfoort, chair of the NPWG, stated.

The NPWG leader explained that Greenland, a country that has been left outside the agreement, has copied the approach.

Furthermore, according to the Scottish Fishermen’s Federation (SFF), Scottish fishermen were also satisfied about the agreement, since Scottish boats will now be able to fish within Faroese waters for the first time in four years.

“This is good news for our whitefish fishermen, particularly for the larger Scottish boats that have been denied access through no fault of their own to their traditional fishery in Faroese waters. This lack of access had been caused by the Faroese over-catching of mackerel, which was resolved in a painful compromise deal yesterday,” pointed out Bertie Armstrong, SFF chief executive.

Nevertheless, for the Scots pelagic sector, there was severe disappointment over the new deal, given that it would allow the Faroese to catch a much higher tonnage of their own allocated mackerel quota in Scottish waters than before. However, the Scottish sector was pleased that neither West of Scotland herring nor mackerel was used as part of the exchange of quotas.

Further dissatisfaction about the agreement has been reported to come from the Federation of Irish Fishermen (FIF), who considers those that have acted irresponsibly over the last number of years in setting totally unjustified enormous autonomous mackerel quotas have been rewarded.

Related articles:

- Trilateral mackerel agreement deemed 'a significant breakthrough'
- Mackerel deal reached with Norway and Faroe Islands
- Still no agreement on sharing mackerel stock
- Coastal-states discussions on mackerel to continue
- Coastal State consultations on mackerel begin in London
- Norway and EU agree to continue mackerel negotiations


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