Herring talks begin in Europe, no headway yet


SeafoodSource staff

Published on
October 17, 2013

The European Coastal States nations, including Iceland and the Faroe Islands, began talks over Atlanto-Scandian herring in London this week, but made no progress after the opening two-day round, according to a statement from the Faroese government.

The talks are part of an ongoing series of negotiations regarding herring and mackerel quotas. Both the Faroes and Iceland have been locked in dispute with the E.U. and Norway over both species, prompting the media to dub the ongoing dispute the Mackerel Wars.

At issue are mackerel and herring stocks, which Iceland and the Faroes allege have migrated northward into their waters, which permits both countries to raise their quotas. The E.U. and Norway dispute this, and have argued that both countries raised their quotas on both species too high to be sustainable. The European Commission set trade sanctions against the Faroes this summer for both species, with threats to do the same with Iceland unless the parties can find common ground.

Representatives from all the involved countries, also including the Russian Federation, met in London on 16 to 17 October to try to work out a solution.

“Regrettably, the parties were not able to reach a mutually satisfactory agreement among all five parties concerned on the allocation key for 2014,” the Faroese government said in a statement.

The parties did, however, agree to limit the total allowable catch for herring for 2014 to 418,487 metric tons, which matches the recommendations of a recent report by the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea. The parties also agreed to create a joint scientific working group to more closely study the herring stocks.

The talks are expected to resume on 10 December.

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