The European Union is expediting the process of punishing Iceland and the Faeroe Islands for going beyond the mackerel quota.
Iceland and the EU have been at odds over mackerel fishing for at least the past year. While the fish has been in declining numbers in EU waters – prompting a conservative quota on the fish – mackerel has recently appeared in abundant supply in Icelandic waters. The Icelandic government, ignoring warnings from the EU to reduce their quota, proceeded to harvest the fish at their own pace.
Matters came to a head last December when European Union Fisheries Commissioner Maria Damanaki told Iceland it was getting a “last chance” to end mackerel fishing before sanctions would be imposed.
Vísir now reports that the EU is moving forward with punishing Iceland and the Faeroe Islands for excessive mackerel fishing. Simon Coveney, Ireland’s fishing minister, revealed as much when speaking to Irish radio yesterday.
Fishing ministers from around the EU are currently meeting in Brussels. As the fishing portion of Iceland’s accession agreement with the EU – arguably the most contentious matter between Iceland and the EU – will be discussed next month, EU leadership wants the mackerel punishment to be fulfilled before that time.