Pelagic industry presses for action

The Scottish Pelagic Fishermen’s Association was part of an EU pelagic industry delegation that met with European Commissioner Maria Damanaki last week to express serious concern at the continuing stalemate in attempts to reach an international management agreement on north-east Atlantic mackerel and to urge for the immediate implementation of trade sanctions against Iceland and the Faroes.

The delegation expressed grave concern on the standstill in the coastal states negotiations and asked the Commissioner to implement quick and effective sanction measures in accordance with the very strong mandate given to her by both the European Parliament and Council against Iceland and the Faroe Islands with the aim to restore the sustainable management of the two stocks.

The meeting was set up to discuss the current situation of the management of pelagic stocks where Iceland has set an autonomous mackerel quota for 2013 of 123,000 ton or 22.7% of the science based 2013 TAC (total allowable catch)and where the Faroe Islands has set yesterday an autonomous mackerel quota of 159,000 ton or 29.3% of the 2013 TAC. This means that in 2013, both countries will catch 52% of the 2013 TAC, where as recently as 2006 their joint share in the mackerel catches was just over 5%.

The industry representatives strongly pleaded for a quick introduction of an effective trade sanction measures by the European Commission.

They pointed to the framework agreement reached between the Council and the European Parliament in October 2012 which gave a very strong mandate to the European Commission to implement effective trade measures against countries that continue to fish in an unsustainable and irresponsible manner on stocks of shared interest with the EU.