Iceland and the EU have been butting heads over mackerel fishing for at least the past year. The EU has threatened to block mackerel imports from Iceland, and threatened to allow Icelandic ships bearing mackerel from docking in EU ports. Nonetheless, both Iceland and the Faeroe Islands have continued harvesting the fish at levels that the EU says go beyond a sustainable level.
It now appears that the EU has had enough, AFP
Iceland and the Faroe Islands face their "last chance" to end a mackerel quota war in negotiations next month, EU fisheries ministers said, otherwise the EU could impose sanctions.
The sanctions Damanaki proposes would be designed to "eliminate" commercial advantages gleaned by these north Atlantic neighbours for "unsustainable" catch levels, and would be based on import restrictions or access to EU ports and facilities.
Scotland's fisheries minister Richard Lochhead, who leads negotiations for Britain, said "the power to impose meaningful sanctions against states fishing unsustainably would be a progressive step."
What the nature of these sanctions entail has still not been sorted out, but as banning Icelandic mackerel has failed to yield the outcome the EU desires, the proposed sanctions could extend to other Icelandic exports.
More background on the EU v. Iceland mackerel saga can be read here
The European Union has run out of patience with regards to Iceland's mackerel fishing, which the organisation says is being conducted unsustainably.