Mackerel landing. (Photo: Juan Murias-Copyright FIS)
Pelagic Industry concerned over future mackerel sustainability
Monday, October 28, 2013, 01:30 (GMT + 9)
As the first round of Coastal States negotiations to discuss management measures regarding the mackerel stock for next year recently concluded in London, the EU Pelagic Industry is worried that a new agreement would not ensure mackerel sustainability for the future.
The meeting of Coastal States was held on 23 and 24 October and was attended by representatives of the Farao Islands, the European Union (EU), Norway and Iceland, and by observers from Greenland and the Russian Federation.
The discussions were focused on the scientific ruling from the International Council for the Exploration of the Seas (ICES), who recomended the significant increase in fisheries opportunities compared to 2013.
The improvement of the scientific cooperation among the Parties and of the control on fishing activities were also discussed, and it was agreed that talks would be resumed in the next weeks.
“I very much welcome the positive nature of these discussions and consider that, in view of the more optimistic scientific advice, there is now a window of opportunity for reaching agreement on resolving the long-standing dispute between the Parties on this very important fish stock,” expressed European Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Maria Damanaki, in reference to the meeting.
Before this meeting, Damanaki had held a meeting in Brussels with various representatives of the EU Pelagic Industry to discuss alternative solutions to ensure the future sustainability of mackerel, reports the Donegal Democrat.
The Irish MEP Pat the Cope Gallagher urged Damanaki to accept their proposal as the best alternative, given that in his opinion it would benefit all parties involved.
Gallagher had already expressed to the ministry of Agriculture of Ireland, Simon Coveney, his concern about the rumours that the EC was trying to achieve a meeting at any price without considering the negative consequences this could produce to the industry.
“It was widely known within Europe and also reported in the Norwegian press that the Commission has offered Iceland 11.9 per cent and the Faroe Islands 12 per cent of the future total allowable catch for mackerel, said the MEP before the meeting in the EU Agriculture and Fisheries Council on 17 October, according to the newspaper Donegal Democrat.
"[...] If these figures are accepted, it would possibly result in a reduced share of mackerel quota for Ireland in the long-run. As a result, Iceland and the Faroe Islands would reap larger mackerel quotas than Ireland which is an absolute disgrace,” he added.
The MEP asked the Minister Coveney to firmly challenge Damanki for her to explain "why she is willing to reward the irresponsible behaviour of Iceland and the Faroe Islands at the expense of Irish fishermen, who have acted responsibly in the past."
The EU and Norway have had a dispute for a long time over mackerel with Iceland and the Faraoe Islands because they accuse these two countries of having unilaterally increased the mackerel quota considerably without respecting an international management plan.
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