EU Criticizes Iceland’s Mackerel Fishing Skip to content

EU Criticizes Iceland’s Mackerel Fishing

The European Commission declared yesterday Iceland’s plans to increase mackerel fishing in contradiction of global agreements to protect fish stocks that have suffered from overfishing, referring to Iceland’s unilateral 112,000-ton mackerel quota.

The European Commission claimed in a statement that Iceland’s quota would result in a complete reversal of the improved trends in the mackerel stock and would nullify the conservation efforts, The Guardian reports.

Fishing in Iceland. Copyright: Icelandic Photo Agency.

Norway has also criticized Iceland for the unilateral mackerel quota.

Hrefna Karlsdóttir, Iceland’s permanent secretary at the Fisheries Ministry, told The Guardian that Iceland had not broken any international agreements as it was not party to any, explaining that Iceland had repeatedly requested to be a partner in the management of mackerel stocks in the northeast Atlantic.

“We have deliberately been kept out of the management of these stocks,” Karlsdóttir said. “We have therefore not recognized the agreements reached within the northeast Atlantic Fisheries Commission and are not bound by them.”

The Guardian argues that this clash between Iceland and the European Union on mackerel fishing comes at a bad time since Iceland is considering applying for membership, speculating that the fisheries question is likely to prove the biggest obstacle during membership negotiations.

However, Iceland has not yet made a decision on whether or not to launch negations with the EU. So far, only one political party—the Social Democrats—has EU membership on its agenda. The other government party, the Left-Greens, is against it, although it does support a referendum on the matter.

Click here to read more about the mackerel dispute and here to read more about Iceland and the EU.

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