A three-day round of talks on the division of the North Atlantic mackerel fishing quota between the European Union, Norway, Iceland and the Faroe Islands concluded without an agreement in Oslo on Friday.
Fishing in Iceland. Photo by Bjarni Brynjólfsson.
“Matters are moving along in the right direction. The gap is decreasing but the distance is still so vast that we couldn’t reach an agreement,” said chairman of the Norwegian delegation Johan Henrik Williams, according to evropuvaktin.is.
Tómas Heidar, chief negotiator for Iceland on mackerel fisheries, told the BBC they were willing to accept a lower quota.
“Although no agreement was reached in the mackerel consultations last week, they were in our view more positive than earlier consultations between the parties. We expect that the EU and Norway will now respond to our increased flexibility by taking steps to reduce the gap that still exists between the parties,” he said.
Heidar added that the date for the next round of talks has not been set, “but the parties will keep close contact in the next weeks and decide on the next steps.”
In 2010, Iceland and the Faroe Islands issued unilateral mackerel quotas after negotiations with the EU and Norway broke down.
Iceland has also issued a quota for this year’s fishing season, more than 146,000 tons of mackerel, up from 130,000 in 2010.
The move caused outrage among other mackerel fishing nations in the North Atlantic with the EU indicating in January that a landing ban would be issued on Icelandic mackerel boats.
Click here to read more about the mackerel talks and dispute.