A Scottish conservative MP – and one of the vice presidents of the European Parliament’s fishing committee – welcomes the EU’s threatened ban on Iceland, and says the country’s mackerel quota is a “one-sided political trick” by the Icelandic government towards the EU.
As was reported, the Icelandic government has set a mackerel quota for 2011 that far exceeds EU limits. As such, the EU has threatened to impose an import ban on any Icelandic mackerel.
Struan Stevenson did not mince words about the decision. “Iceland likes to present itself as the poor wee victim of the big bad EU,” he told reporters in the UK. “But let’s not forget the facts here. Iceland has unilaterally demanded a quota of 147,000 tonnes next year, even more than their exorbitant catch in 2010 which caused such outrage and sparked the ‘mackerel war’. … This is a shared, migratory stock that Scottish fishermen have worked hard to fish sustainably. Iceland and the Faroe Islands have shown utter contempt for this good management with their smash-and-grab tactics.”
Furthermore, Stevenson believes the move itself is just a political ploy to avoid embarrassment. As is known, public support for joining the EU is relatively low. If the EU agrees to accept Iceland into the fold, the matter will still need to be voted on in public referendum. The prospects for the referendum, based on today’s support levels, are not very good. Stevenson contends that the government is trying to avoid being shamed by a “no” vote on the referendum by forcing the EU’s hand on this issue for political gain. It should also be noted that Minister of Fisheries and Agriculture Jón Bjarnason is ardently anti-EU.
EU Threatens Mackerel Import Ban