Officials from Scotland, Ireland and the UK agreed last Friday that EU sanctions against Iceland and the Faeroe Islands over “reckless” mackerel fishing must be initiated as soon as possible.
The dispute has been continuing for quite some time. Most recently, the EU indicated last January that sanctions against Iceland will move forward unless it rolls back its mackerel fishing. EU officials believe Iceland and the Faeroe Islands are fishing mackerel at unsustainable levels, endangering the stock.
Last Friday, fishing ministers from Scotland, Ireland and the UK met in Luxembourg to discuss the matter, and came to an agreement that sanctions must be initiated now in order to protect stocks.
“We all agreed that sanctions promised by Commission need to be tabled as soon as possible, to demonstrate our resolve to respond robustly to actions taken by Iceland and Faeroes and we will continue to press for this,” said Scottish Fisheries Minister Richard Lochhead. “If the excessive mackerel fishing we have seen from Faeroes and Iceland continues, we face the possibility of the stock falling below safe limits as early as 2014. We simply cannot afford to let that happen, therefore the absolute overriding objective for us all is to ensure the future sustainability of the stock.”
For more on the subject of Iceland’s conflict with the UK over mackerel fishing, check out Grapevine’s coverage on the subject.