EU Parliament Passes Sanction Vote Against Iceland

13.9.2012
Words by Paul Fontaine
The European Union parliament approved yesterday a number of punitive measures against Iceland and the Faeroe Islands over what they see as those two country's overfishing of mackerel stocks.

Mackerel fishing has been a contentious subject between Iceland and the EU. While Iceland maintains a quota that they believe is sustainable, EU leaders have said Iceland is overfishing the stocks, and have repeatedly threatened to issue punitive measures if Iceland does not reverse its policy.

RÚV now reports that the EU parliament has approved a measure that includes a number of sanctions against Iceland and the Faeroe Islands, to be enforced at the discretion of the directorship of the EU.

In all, 659 EMPs voted in favour of the measure, while 11 voted against and 7 abstained.

The punitive measures do not go as far as was initially suggested, when a sanction against all Icelandic seafood was proposed. Rather, these measures ban any Icelandic mackerel from being landed at EU ports. Furthermore, any countries that do accept Icelandic mackerel will be banned from docking ships in EU ports, and fishing centres which trade with Icelandic mackerel will also banned from exporting.

The directorship of the EU has the ultimate power to enforce the measures, but it is regardless widely believed that mackerel fishing will be a major point of contention as Iceland enters the fishing chapter of EU accession talks next month.

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