No Solution to Mackerel Dispute, New Meetings Ahead Skip to content

No Solution to Mackerel Dispute, New Meetings Ahead

A series of meetings among mackerel coastal states on the control of mackerel fishing ended in London yesterday without a conclusion. A new series of meetings is scheduled later this month.

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Fishing in Iceland. Copyright: Icelandic Photo Agency.

The point of disagreement is how big a share each coastal state should have of the total mackerel catch: the European Union member states, Norway, Iceland and the Faroe Islands, Fréttabladid reports.

Tómas H. Heidar, chairperson of the Icelandic negotiation committee, said it is not surprising that no solution was found. No one expected the dispute to be resolved at this point given that it has taken the EU and Norway many years to recognize Iceland’s position as a mackerel coastal state in spite of scientific evidence that the presence of mackerel in Icelandic waters is constantly increasing is at hand.

“There is no dispute on the basic issues of control of mackerel fishing. Everyone agrees to follow the scientific advice of ICES but people disagree on how to divide the catch between coastal states,” Heidar explained, adding that he cannot reveal at this point what the Iceland delegation is demanding or what the EU and Norway are offering.

However, he said the Icelandic delegation has emphasized sustainable fishing. That includes, in fact, that all parties must reduce their fishing. Currently, all states have issued unilateral quotas for themselves; Iceland’s quota for 2010 is 130,000 tons, which is around 17 percent of the combined quota of all states.

The EU has been critical of Iceland for its mackerel fishing, which is at the underlay of Scotland which has significant interests to protect. When asked whether there is will to negotiate from that direction, Heidar said that he was clear in his opening address that threats form the EU would not contribute towards a solution to the dispute.

Click here to read more about the mackerel dispute.

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