The European Parliament (EP) has approved a measure that would issue sanctions against countries considered to be engaging in overfishing mackerel – Iceland among them.
As reported, Iceland and the EU have been butting heads over mackerel fishing for at least the past year. The EU has threatened to block mackerel imports from Iceland, and threatened to prevent Icelandic ships bearing mackerel from docking in EU ports.
Patience has worn thin at the EP, with the threats escalating to negotiations over punitive measures, while Iceland refused to budge over the issue.
Fish News EU now reports that a measure to impose sanctions against Iceland have been approved.
[IRISH MEP Pat the Cope] Gallagher stated today that: “I am pleased that the talks between the European Parliament and the Danish Presidency have ended with agreement. I strongly believe that the agreed text will deliver both workable and effective trade sanctions, which will act as a real deterrent to countries who engage in unsustainable fishing practices now and in the future.
“The mackerel dispute in the North East Atlantic is the moving force behind these new measures. However, I am still hopeful that the measures may never be used against Iceland and the Faroe Islands and I once again call on all four Coastal States to immediately resume talks with a view to resolving this long running dispute.”
The actual terms of the agreement outline a number of punitive measures, which are as follows:
1. Quantitative restrictions on the importations of fish into the EU including the stock of common interest and associated species.
2. The definition of associated species is broadly defined to cover a range of species other than mackerel for example and is based on FAO rules.
3. Further measures can be applied under the scope of the Regulation, if the initial measures prove to be ineffective.
4. Restrictions on the use of EU ports by vessels flying the flag of the country or territory deemed to be overfishing.
5. Restrictions on the use of EU ports by vessels transporting fish and fishery products from the stock of common interest and associated species.
6. Ban on the sale of fishing vessels, fishing equipment and supplies to the country or territory deemed to be overfishing.
7. Ban on reflagging of fishing vessels from an EU Member State to a country or territory deemed to be overfishing.
It is expected that the Committee on Fisheries in the European Parliament will adopt the text on July 11 at the latest, with the measures being formally ratified this September.
More on Iceland, the EU and mackerel can be read here.