Iceland announces unilateral fishing quota for mackerel
The following statement was made by Oliver Drewes, spokesperson for Commissioner Maria Damanaki, EU Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries:
"The Commission regrets Iceland's announcement of a unilateral fishing quota for mackerel. We regret that Iceland has decided its own quota unilaterally and not in consultation with its partners, for yet another year.
Iceland's claim to reduce its quota conceals the fact that Iceland's unilateral quota remains excessively high, before and after the reduction. Iceland awards itself almost a quarter (23% ) of the entire scientifically justified quota for the North Atlantic mackerel stock, from a zero level a few years ago. This leaves the 10 or more other fishing nations to share the remainder, therefore Iceland's mackerel fisheries is still unsustainable and ignores the health of the mackerel fish stock as well as the legitimate interests of all other costal parties.
Iceland's self-awarded quota of 23% exceeds by far Iceland's own claim, made at the negotiating table, and anything that scientific surveys can justify.
Science is clearly pointing to the need to reduce catches of mackerel. The European Union and Norway have imposed on themselves much higher reductions in 2013. The European Union and Norway have cut their catches by more than 89 000 tonnes, compared to Iceland's announced reduction of around 25 000 tonnes.
The Commission remains committed to finding a multilateral solution with all coastal partners and appeals to Iceland to return to the negotiating table with an offer that is sustainable and constructive."