Tuesday

15th Jun 2021

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.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

  • 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

German Greens face reality check amid CDU gains

Armin Laschet, Angela Merkel's would-be-heir after German's September election, said he would prefer to govern with the liberals - as the Greens continued their slump in the polls.

News in Brief

  1. BBC and others boycott Belarus press circus
  2. Report: EU and US to unveil aircraft subsidy truce
  3. Putin refuses to guarantee Navalny will survive jail
  4. Erdoğan agrees to pull out mercenaries from Libya
  5. EU starts sale of first bonds for Covid-19 recovery fund
  6. Germans told not to 'storm pharmacies' for Covid pass
  7. Indonesia warns Covid-19 wave may not peak until July
  8. WTO chief: 'drop trade barriers on Covid-19 treatments'

German Greens face reality check amid CDU gains

Armin Laschet, Angela Merkel's would-be-heir after German's September election, said he would prefer to govern with the liberals - as the Greens continued their slump in the polls.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNineteen demands by Nordic young people to save biodiversity
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersSustainable public procurement is an effective way to achieve global goals
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Council enters into formal relations with European Parliament
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersWomen more active in violent extremist circles than first assumed
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersDigitalisation can help us pick up the green pace
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersCOVID19 is a wake-up call in the fight against antibiotic resistance

Latest News

  1. China officially joins Russia as a danger to Nato
  2. German Greens face reality check amid CDU gains
  3. EU Parliament wants Europe to take lead on sea-rescues
  4. MEPs urged to end gas-funding, fix cross-border projects rules
  5. Biden in Brussels - what's in the 'in-tray'?
  6. Yemen foreign minister to EU: to stop the war, talk to Iran
  7. Brexit grumbles overshadow UK summit
  8. Former French PM to work for Russian oil firm

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us