The European Commissioner for Fisheries and Maritime Affairs Joe Borg specifically requested assistance from Iceland on creating a new and sustainable fisheries policy for the European Union in an article which he wrote for Fréttabladid daily yesterday.
Fishing in Iceland. Copyright: Icelandic Photo Agency.
Borg stated that the EU’s current fisheries policy has failed; nine out of ten fish stocks are being overfished and that one third of fish stocks are in a poor condition. Moreover, demand for fish exceeds supply, Borg pointed out.
“Imagine that the European fishing industry is both a profitable and sustainable industry. Fishermen and others who work in related industries have safe employment and receive an acceptable salary and those who retire can deliver flourishing companies to the next generation.
Similarly, younger generations could look at jobs in the fishing industry as a realistic and favorable option when they seek their future careers. My dream is that this will become a reality in our near future—for example in 2020,” Borg wrote, adding:
“But if we are to safeguard the fishing industry we have to change our fishing methods. It is also clear that we don’t have much time. […] Everyone, not just the European Union, has to clean up in their own backyard and feel responsible towards the fish in the sea.
With these viewpoints in mind, I hereby declare the discussions of the fisheries policy of the European Union to be open. Until December 31, the EU Commission will welcome suggestions and perspectives on how it is best to shape this industry for the future.
I promise a wide-reaching and open discussion and I certainly hope for good contributions and proposals from as many directions as possible. I especially request assistance from Iceland, because of the experience and knowledge Iceland has in this field,” Borg concluded.
Iceland’s Minister of Fisheries Jón Bjarnason said Borg’s request shows how little reason there is for Iceland to join the EU. “It seems to me that he is describing the problems of the EU in these matters,” Bjarnason said in an interview with Stöd 2.
Bjarnason said that the problems are of a political nature and are caused by the fact that power in the EU is centralized in Brussels. The minister added that he finds it unlikely that Iceland can contribute towards solving these problems and that they have to be solved internally.
“However, it is welcome to offer [Borg] counseling if a formal request is received,” Bjarnason said, concluding that it is a little to optimistic to believe that Iceland will ever participate in forming the EU’s fisheries policy and changing the basic foundation of the EU.
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