Commission expresses concern on unilateral mackerel quota declared by Faeroe Islands
The European Commission today expressed its grave concern at the unilateral mackerel quota of 85,000 t set by Faeroe Islands for 2010. It pointed out that this level amounted to three times the level of Faeroese traditional quota entitlement under multilateral management arrangements between the EU, Norway and Faeroe Islands in force from 1999 to 2009.
It particularly regretted this unilateral action which ran contrary to the positive contribution the Faeroe Islands had made with the EU in re-building this mackerel stock; a stock of key importance to the EU pelagic fishing fleet and industry. This unilateral decision by the Faeroe Islands came as a surprise, since in discussions in July they had indicated their support for the Commission in its efforts to ensure a sustainable management of the stock.
Commissioner Maria Damanaki stated that the escalating trend, whereby unjustifiably high mackerel fishing quotas had been set firstly by Iceland and now by Faeroe Islands for 2010, was in clear contradiction with the avowed objective of sustainable fisheries. Such actions risked causing the collapse of the NE Atlantic mackerel stock, which would be to the detriment of all the fleets and industries concerned.
The Commissioner indicated that the European Union would be sending a very clear message to the Faeroe Islands in the coming days and would be seeking early consultations between the parties in order to put the management of the NE Atlantic mackerel stock back on a sustainable basis. However, should the current anarchic situation in the mackerel fisheries continue with unreasonable positions being maintained by parties, then the Commission will contemplate all necessary measures to conserve the mackerel stock and safeguard EU interests.
"We will put all our efforts into ending this untenable situation by trying to come to an agreement with all states fishing on the north eastern mackerel stock. Should our efforts however not be fruitful I cannot guarantee that we will continue to exchange fishing possibilities with the Faeroe Islands and Iceland in 2011" said Maria Damanaki.