Seven fisheries companies with operations in ten European countries are said to have worked on a strategy in the past weeks to force Iceland and the Faroe Islands to reduce their mackerel fishing.
Fishing in Iceland. Copyright: Icelandic Photo Agency.
They are allegedly especially keen on recruiting Norwegian Minister of Fisheries and Coastal Affairs Lisbeth Berg-Hansen and intend to use the media for propaganda, Morgunblaðið reports.
Also, these companies are said to be strategically working on finding allies among environmental protection organizations and in European national congresses.
Camiel Derichs, deputy director for Europe at the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC), which certifies sustainable seafood, said the seven companies want to reclaim their certification for mackerel fishing and that Iceland’s and the Faroe Islands’ fishing is a hindrance.
Ian Gatt, chief executive of the Scottish Pelagic Fishermen’s Association (SPFA), said he is certain that the European Union will carry out the planned sanctions against Iceland and the Faroe Islands, as European Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Maria Damanaki confirmed that to him when they met to discuss the issue last spring.
Gatt is of the opinion that Iceland’s membership application to the European Union and the mackerel dispute should be connected so that Iceland can be pressured into reducing mackerel fishing.
The planned sanctions will also prove a useful tool to that respect, Gatt said, as it will limit Iceland’s access to European fisheries markets.
Click here to read more about the planned sanctions and the mackerel dispute.