EU, Iceland and Nordic mackerel quota talks break down

Mar 06, 2014
A picture taken on February 13, 2014 in Bordeaux, western France, shows mackerels at a fish shop

Negotiations over mackerel fishing quotas have fallen apart, Iceland said Thursday, extending a dispute dubbed "the mackerel war" that has been a thorny issue in the country's EU membership bid.

The European Union, Iceland, the Faroe Islands and Norway left a meeting in Edinburgh on Wednesday without reaching an agreement for 2014.

Iceland's government said that the parties should leave it there.

"It is evident that the opportunity to reach an agreement for the 2014 fishing season has slipped away," the Icelandic Ministry of Fisheries said in a statement.

Fishing is the main obstacle stopping Iceland from joining the EU. Reykjavik pulled out of accession talks indefinitely in September despite public support for a promised referendum on joining the bloc.

Iceland and the Faroe Islands, a Danish territory with autonomy in fishing matters, have been engaged in a "mackerel war" with the EU since they unilaterally increased their quotas in 2010.

The issue has heated up as mackerel started migrating north to the islands' fishing waters in response to rising sea temperatures.

Brussels responded with sanctions against the Faroe Islands for overfishing herring, banning import of both and herring from the archipelago and forbidding some of its fishing boats from docking in EU ports.

Iceland has not suffered any sanctions so far.

Icelandic Fishing Minister Sigurdur Ingi Johannsson blamed the failure of the talks on Norway which, like the island nation, is not a member of the EU.

"We had reached an understanding with (the) EU based on a sustainable utilisation of the stock," Johannsson said.

"Unfortunately, Norway was not willing to negotiate on that basis and insisted on a fishing level far above the ICES (International Council for the Exploration of the Sea) advice."

Norway threw the blame back on Iceland and the Faroe Islands.

"Norway has gone very far in this negotiation and it is hard to understand that it was not possible to find a balanced solution," Norway's Fisheries Minister Elisabeth Aspaker said in a statement.

As in previous years, Oslo must now take its case to Brussels.

Explore further: EU slaps trade sanctions against Faroes in herring spat

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

EU urges quick fix to Iceland 'mackerel war'

Jul 16, 2013

European Commission head Jose Manuel Barroso used a first meeting Tuesday with new Icelandic Prime Minister Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsson to urge an end to the David & Goliath "mackerel war" pitting the EU ...

Iceland ups 2014 whaling quotas

Dec 13, 2013

Iceland announced Friday it has increased its 2014 quotas for whaling in a move likely to intensify international condemnation of the practice.

Recommended for you

Genetically tracking farmed fish escaping into the wild

Aug 20, 2014

European sea product consumption is on the rise. With overfishing being a threat to the natural balance of the ocean, the alternative is to turn to aquaculture, the industrial production of fish and seafood. ...

France fights back Asian hornet invader

Aug 20, 2014

They slipped into southwest France 10 years ago in a pottery shipment from China and have since invaded more than half the country, which is fighting back with drones, poisoned rods and even chickens.

Tide turns for shark fin in China

Aug 20, 2014

A sprawling market floor in Guangzhou was once a prime location for shark fin, one of China's most expensive delicacies. But now it lies deserted, thanks to a ban from official banquet tables and a celebrity-driven ...

Manatees could lose their endangered species status

Aug 19, 2014

About 2,500 manatees have perished in Florida over the last four years, heightening tension between conservationists and property owners as federal officials prepare to decide whether to down-list the creature to threatened ...

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

Squirrel
not rated yet Mar 07, 2014
Why does the EU have a fishing policy given this is a more appropriate issue for the countries local to the seas containing fish stock?