Unless an agreement can be reached in the current mackerel dispute, the European Union will likely move forward with an import trade ban on all Icelandic and Faroese fish products.
The mackerel dispute between Iceland and the EU has been going on for several years, and essentially boils down to a disagreement over the maximum quota for the fish. The EU believes Iceland is overfishing the mackerel stocks, while Iceland contends their fishing is sustainable.
The EU has threatened Iceland with punitive trade bans in the past, but to no avail. However, a recent turn of events could initiate a total import trade ban on all Icelandic fish products as early as next year.
The Grocer reports that EU fisheries commissioner Maria Damanaki intends to roll through legislation that would “provide the EU with the means to take effective measures against states not co-operating in good faith in the adoption of agreed management measures,” she said.
Damanaki said that the EU “absolutely needs this” for next year at the latest, saying that mackerel stocks in the northeast Atlantic will not be able to sustain themselves much longer than that. “Iceland and the Faroes have put unilateral quotas in place and they are not co-operative at all. There is no scientific foundation on which they can base their decisions,” she said.
Minister of Foreign Affairs Össur Skarphéðinsson has already responded to the news, Vísir reports, saying that Iceland has always sought to reach an agreement over the matter, and is not walking away from the discussion.