EU lifts herring trade ban against Faroes


Sean Murphy, SeafoodSource online editor

Published on
August 18, 2014

The European Commission has officially repealed the herring trade ban it imposed against the Faroe Islands last summer, but the agreement earlier this year hailed as the end to a long-running dispute over herring and mackerel quotas remains fragile, according to a statement from the commission.

The commission announced this week that the sanctions would be lifted as of 20 August. The announcement follows an agreement reached in June between the Faroes and the EU and Norway where the Faroes would adopt a reduced catch limit for herring for 2014 of 40,000 metric tons (MT).

But a statement on behalf of the commission from a spokesman for Maria Damanaki, European commissioner of maritime affairs and fisheries, indicated that the agreement is less firm than initially stated, and not everyone in the commission is satisfied.

“The lifting of the measures does not represent a tacit agreement by the EU that 40,000 MT is the legitimate share of the stock for the Faroe Islands. It is merely indicative of the fact that the sustainability of the stock is no longer in jeopardy,” the commission said. “The decision is also without prejudice to the consultations that will take place in the autumn among the five coastal States (Norway, the Russian Federation, Iceland, Faroe Islands and the EU) on the future sharing of the stock.”

The commission issued the trade ban in August 2013, with a threat of issuing a similar trade ban to Iceland, and possibly to follow with similar bans on mackerel. The move represented an escalation of the “mackerel wars,” which started when Iceland and the Faroes refused to fish within limits imposed by the EU and Norway for both species.

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