EU lifts sanctions on Faroe Islands

The European Union has lifted herring and mackerel trade sanctions against the Faroe Islands, a move that Maria Damanaki, European commissioner for maritime affairs and fisheries, praised as an end to an ongoing dispute over quotas.

"It is with great pleasure that I am announcing today that the EU and the Faroe Islands have agreed at political level to end their ‘herring dispute,’” Damanaki said in a statement.

The Faroes, together with Iceland, have been at odds with the EU and Norway for several years, fighting over quotas for herring and mackerel. In the dispute, dubbed the “Mackerel Wars” in industry media, Icelandic and Faroese fisheries officials argued the migrating stocks allowed both countries to fish at much higher levels than their quotas would allow.

Negotiations went nowhere, coming to a head last summer when the EU made good on its warnings and levied trade bans for herring and mackerel against the Faroes. At the time, the implication was that Iceland would be next.

The move prompted new negotiations, and in March of this year Faroese officials managed to agree upon a new mackerel quota. A month later, Iceland followed suit, putting an end to the dispute.

This week, in return for the EU lifting the sanctions, the Faroese agreed to close its proceedings against the EU at the World Trade Organization and end its complaints that the EU violated the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea.

“Faroese fishermen will be able to come back to EU waters and European fishermen can continue their traditional fisheries in Faroese waters,” Damanaki said. “Let’s now focus on working hand in hand towards sustainable fisheries in the North-East Atlantic."


Want seafood news sent to your inbox?

You may unsubscribe from our mailing list at any time. Diversified Communications | 121 Free Street, Portland, ME 04101 | +1 207-842-5500