Tuesday

16th Jan 2018

EU under pressure to avoid 'mackerel war'

The European Commission is under pressure to avoid a 'mackerel war' with Iceland and the Faroe Islands, with EU ministers still undecided on whether to back a compromise proposal.

Talks between EU fisheries ministers in Brussels on Thursday (17 October) broke up without agreement ahead of the latest round of negotiations with the coastal states in London next Wednesday, at which the Commission is expected to make an offer increasing the annual quotas of mackerel that can be caught.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

  • The EU will bid to end a five year dispute over mackerel fishing in London next week (Photo: Erik Christensen, Porkeri - Norden.org)

Going into the meeting which he described as a "single issue Council", Irish fisheries minister Simon Coveney warned that Iceland and the Faroe Islands should not be rewarded for what he termed "their unacceptable and irresponsible actions in respect of the shared mackerel stock over the past number of years.”

Ireland, which currently has a 10.5 percent allocation of the mackerel catch quota, has been angered by the commission's planned proposal to offer 12 percent of the catch of the shared migratory stock to Icelandic and the Faroese fleets.

With Scottish fishermen also keenly affected by the dispute, the UK is expected to join Ireland.

The EU wants to end a five-year impasse between itself and the so-called 'coastal states', which also include Norway. This summer the bloc threatened trade sanctions against Iceland and the Faroes after they ignored quota limits.

"We do want a deal done..but there needs to be a fair distribution of that quota," Coveney told reporters. He called on the commission to take a "tough stance" accusing Iceland and the Faroes of having "abused their position and overfished this stock."

For its part, Iceland and the Faroes point to studies of the stock that indicate that supplies of mackerel are rapidly increasing.

Earlier this month, the International Council for the Exploration of the Seas (ICES), which provides guidance on sustainable fishing levels, issued its recommended 2014 Northeast Atlantic mackerel catch level.

The 2014 total catch limit is set at 889,886 tonnes, a 64 percent increase from the 2013 total.

ICES also noted that recent data indicates the stock has expanded north-westwards, particularly during the summer feeding period. 
  


Sigurður Ingi Jóhannsson, Iceland’s Minister of Fisheries and Agriculture, commented that "the mackerel stock is in strong shape, with the 2013 international trawl survey conducted by Iceland, Norway and the Faroe Islands indicating a stock size of 8.8 million tonnes, far larger than expected.

Speaking after the meeting, EU fisheries commissioner, Maria Damanaki said that she remained "slightly optimistic" that the bloc could avoid a 'mackerel war'.

"Nobody wants a mackerel war, but we don't want an agreement at any price," she said, adding that "if we work together an agreement can be possible".

EU agrees fish quotas amid threat of 'Mackerel war'

EU fisheries ministers have agreed national quotas for 2011 during a late-night carve-up in Brussels, while a growing squabble with Iceland over Mackerel catches has raised fresh doubts over Reykjavik's bid to join the EU.

Opinion

Joint responsiblities in mackerel fishing

Recognition of the changed migration pattern of the mackerel stock in the Northeast-Atlantic should be taken into account as Iceland, the EU, Norway and the Faroe Islands discuss mackerel catches for this year, writes Iceland's Fisheries Minister Steingrímur J. Sigfússon

Analysis

Macron's Chinese 'game of influence'

On his recent visit to China, the French president tried to take advantage of Beijing's 'divide and rule' EU approach and become the country's main interlocutor with Europe - while also calling for more EU coordination.

Opinion

EU's 'old men' must pressure on Poland on abortion rights

Despite fresh crackdowns on Poland's already restrictive abortion laws, EU commission president Juncker did not raise the issue with the new Polish PM Morawiecki - perhaps because it was an all-male event?

Analysis

Macron's Chinese 'game of influence'

On his recent visit to China, the French president tried to take advantage of Beijing's 'divide and rule' EU approach and become the country's main interlocutor with Europe - while also calling for more EU coordination.

News in Brief

  1. Spanish anti-mafia prosecutor targets Russian officials
  2. Madrid to continue direct rule if Puigdemont re-elected
  3. Major variations in online banking take-up across EU
  4. No second EU referendum, says Corbyn
  5. German ministry warns against EU parliament's Dublin reform
  6. Vienna marches against far-right FPO party
  7. UK should pay more for Calais migrants, says French minister
  8. Portugal opposition elects new leader

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. ILGA EuropeFreedom of Movement and Same-Sex Couples in Romania – Case Update!
  2. EU2017EEEstonia Completes First EU Presidency, Introduced New Topics to the Agenda
  3. Bio-Based IndustriesLeading the Transition Towards a Post-Petroleum Society
  4. ACCAWelcomes the Start of the New Bulgarian Presidency
  5. Mission of China to the EUPremier Li and President Tusk Stress Importance of Ties at ASEM Summit
  6. EU2017EEVAT on Electronic Commerce: New Rules Adopted
  7. European Jewish CongressChair of EU Parliament Working Group on Antisemitism Condemns Wave of Attacks
  8. Counter BalanceA New Study Challenges the Infrastructure Mega Corridors Agenda
  9. Dialogue PlatformThe Gülen Community: Who to Believe - Politicians or Actions?" by Thomas Michel
  10. Plastics Recyclers Europe65% Plastics Recycling Rate Attainable by 2025 New Study Shows
  11. European Heart NetworkCommissioner Andriukaitis' Address to EHN on the Occasion of Its 25th Anniversary
  12. ACCACFOs Risk Losing Relevance If They Do Not Embrace Technology

Latest News

  1. Macron's Chinese 'game of influence'
  2. EU's 'old men' must pressure on Poland on abortion rights
  3. Commission to float anti-'fake news' proposals in spring
  4. Sweden raises alarm on election meddling
  5. Bulgaria's corruption problem mars EU presidency start
  6. No new dawn for Europe under German coalition
  7. Bulgaria takes over, Germany's SPD votes This WEEK
  8. German coalition deal aims for 'Macron-lite' EU renewal