Iceland herring

The European Union’s Committee for Fisheries and Aquaculture has agreed to back the adoption of trade measures for herring and mackerel between the Faroe Islands and the EU.

The final decision will now come back, upon proposal of Commissioner Maria Damanaki, to the commission that will discuss these measures, taking into account the opinions express in the committee. A decision is expected in the August.

The decision was made following the move by the Faroe Islands earlier this year to increase its quota by more than three time the allocations they would have got under the existing long standing agreed international management for the stock.

Mackerel is included in this EU sanctions package because the Faroese catch this fish in association with Atlanto-Scandian herring. However, under article 22 of the sanctions agreement, there is scope to introduce further fish products at a future date. This could include fishmeal, fish oil and Faroese salmon products because herring is used in the manufacture of their feed.

The Scottish fishing industry welcomed the EU’s decision.

“We hope it send a clear signal to the Faroese that their actions are simply not acceptable in the 21 st century and will not be tolerated by those nations committed to sustainable harvesting,” said Ian Gatt, Scottish Pelagic Fishermen’s Association CEO. “We not that fishmeal, fish oil and salmon products are not included at this stage, but they could be imposed later if there is no movement from the Faroese in resolving this issue.”

In response to this massive unilateral quota increase by the Faroese, the Marine Stewardship Council recently suspended the MSC eco-label certificate for the Faroese Atlantic herring fishery. 

Atlanto-Scandian herring is a distinct stock of herring that occurs in the north-east Atlantic and is separate from North Sea and West of Scotland herring.

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