The Icelandic government will be meeting this weekend with negotiators from the European Union, Norway, and the Faroe Islands in effort to “resolve the dispute over [Iceland’s] shares in mackerel fisheries,” FIS reports.
International debates over mackerel quotas have been ongoing since 2009, when Iceland significantly increased its mackerel catch in response to increased stocks in its waters. Although Iceland has contended that the increased fishing is both sustainable and vital to the Icelandic economy, its new quota has led to conflicts with EU states and Norway, who contend that Iceland will destroy mackerel stocks. Similar contentions have been made in regards to the Faroe Islands’ herring quotas. Both Iceland and the Faroes face possible sanctions from EU nations which would ban imports of mackerel and other fish products from both countries.
Sigurður Ingi Jóhannsson, Iceland’s Minister of Fisheries and Agriculture, released a statement ahead of this weekend’s meeting, saying,
“We are looking forward to hosting the coastal states meeting in Reykjavik this week. Iceland called this early meeting because the debate over the mackerel catch demands a fair resolution. Yet rather than pushing towards a fair outcome, the EU is making threats and launching attacks that only harm efforts to find a lasting shared-quota agreement…We hope that the coastal states involved will put threats of sanctions to one side and approach these talks with an open mind. We are confident that diplomacy and dialogue are best path to a solution and we stand ready to play our part.”