Iceland fishing group challenges MCS rating

By

SeafoodSource staff

Published on
May 19, 2013

Another fishing organization out of Iceland is blasting a recent Marine Conservation Society (MCS) rating of Icelandic mackerel as “least sustainable.”

The Federation of the Icelandic Fishing Vessel Owners released a statement today criticizing the MCS, which recently gave the classification to mackerel fished in waters off Iceland and the Faroe Islands.

Both nations have recently come under fire for fishing beyond quotas set by a multinational agreement several years ago. Last week, the European Commission warned both countries that sanctions are imminent if they do not negotiate with the E.U. In response to both the MCS and the threats of sanctions, Iceland’s government countered by claiming that the quotas do not take into account changes in the mackerel stocks and are unfairly biased against Iceland and the Faroes.

The owners federation statement echoed many of these sentiments.

“According to the United nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, the four coastal States, Iceland, the EU, the Faroe Islands and Norway, have the right to fish for mackerel,” the federation wrote. “This, fishing of mackerel by Icelandic vessels in Icelandic waters is just as legitimate as is the fishing of mackerel by EU vessels in EU waters.”

The federation noted that Iceland has only a fraction of the total allowable catch (TAC) for all of Europe.

“There is no justification for classifying the Icelandic mackerel fisheries as ‘non sustainable fishing’ when EU and Norway unilaterally claim more than 90 percent of the TAC recommended by scientists, leaving less than 10 percent to Iceland, Faroe Islands and Russia combined,” the federation said in its statement.

The federation urged MCS to revise its ratings to include more current scientific data, which shows there are more mackerel in Icelandic waters now than even just a few years ago.

Officials from the Faroe Islands, a self-governing province of Denmark, have not commented on the MCS rating or the threats of EU sanctions.

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