Icelandic fisheries authorities have rejected an offer to be silent participants in a meeting on the control of mackerel fishing at the end of this month. Icelanders refuse to participate unless they are accepted as representatives of a mackerel fishing state.
Fishing in Iceland. Copyright: Icelandic Photo Agency.
Hrefna M. Karlsdóttir, manager of the Icelandic Ministry of Fisheries international division, told Morgunbladid that no reaction from the official mackerel fishing states, the EU, Norway and the Faroe Islands, to Iceland’s answer has been received.
Karlsdóttir said she had been surprised to learn that while the presence of mackerel in Icelandic waters is growing every year, these states refuse to recognize Iceland’s right to mackerel fishing.
Fridrik J. Arngrímsson, chairman of the Federation of Icelandic Fishing Vessel Owners, said there is only one answer to their attitude:
“We’ll just catch more mackerel next year. […] We must be able to participate in these discussions as fully accepted members, although it probably won’t lead to any immediate agreements because of the immense difference in opinions.”
Arngrímsson stated that there is no problem for Icelanders to make a unilateral decision on mackerel fishing quota next year as was the case this year—a move harshly criticized by the official mackerel fishing states.
While an overall control of mackerel fishing is naturally preferred, the attitude towards Iceland leaves local fisheries authorities no choice, Arngrímsson explained. However, he promised that Icelandic mackerel fishing will be organized in a responsible manner.
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