Iceland Upset by Greenland’s Interest in Mackerel Quota Skip to content

Iceland Upset by Greenland’s Interest in Mackerel Quota

The Icelandic government believes it may harm the interests of Icelanders if landing of mackerel caught in Greenlandic waters is permitted. Greenland might thus demand to be party in the mackerel talks and request the EU’s recognition as a mackerel coastal state.


Fishing in Iceland. Photo by Bjarni Brynjólfsson.

There are different views on what impact it will have on the negotiations on the mackerel fishing quota that the fish stock has started migrating into Greenlandic territory. Some say it will complicate the dispute but others believe it may strengthen Iceland’s position, reports.

The mackerel quota dispute between Iceland, the Faroe Islands, Norway and the European Union has been ongoing for several years with no solution in sight as to how the quota should be shared.

Meanwhile, the nations party to the debate are planning to catch 45 percent in excess of the advised quota and so the fish stock is likely to be subject to overfishing.

While the mackerel’s migration to Greenlandic waters may support Iceland’s claim that the fish’s behavior is changing and thus enable Iceland to demand a higher percentage of the shared quota, others reason that permitting the landing of mackerel caught in Greenlandic waters may counteract Iceland’s arguments.

Minister of Fisheries Steingrímur J. Sigfússon wrote in a letter to Greenlandic authorities that if such landing were to be permitted, the EU and Norway would register the catch to Iceland and accuse Icelanders of overfishing and thus harm their cause.

The next meeting on the mackerel dispute is scheduled early next month.

Meanwhile, two Chinese fishing vessels are headed for the fishing grounds between Iceland and East Greenland to catch mackerel, reports.

The vessels will land their catch on the Chinese-owned factory ship Lafayette, which is on lease by the companies Fjord Fishing and Finance Company, which bought almost the entire mackerel quota in the Faroe Islands this year.

Click here to read more about the dispute.


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