‘Lack of progress’ in new Faroese talks


SeafoodSource staff

Published on
September 3, 2013

After the first round of new mackerel and herring quota talks with officials from the Faroe Islands since the E.U. levied sanctions against the small nation, one Scottish fishing group expressed “severe disappointment at the lack of progress.”

Ian Gatt, chief executive of the Scottish Pelagic Fishermen’s Association, issued a statement shortly after the 3 September talks finished in London. The talks come in the wake of trade sanctions from the E.U. barring the Faroes from selling mackerel or herring to E.U. ports.

The talks were meant to bring an end to the so-called “mackerel wars,” which started when the Faroese and Iceland began fishing herring and mackerel at levels high above quotas that the E.U. and Norway deemed sustainable. Both Iceland and the Faroes have insisted that their current quotas more accurately reflect the state of the stocks of both species in their waters.

While the E.U. has not levied any sanctions against Iceland, E.U. officials have said they are considering doing so. Gatt noted the parties agreed to set up “a scientific working group,” but even that needed to be finalized by Iceland and Russia before being official.

“In any case, a scientific working group is hardly a significant step forward and will do nothing to resolve the issue in the short-term,” Gatt wrote.

Gatt and the association have been vocal critics of Iceland and the Faroes since the dispute began, and in his statement, Gatt continued to criticize the Faroese government for continuing to permit high quotas.

“Such a move is totally unsustainable and unjustifiable, especially since the Faroese have presented absolutely no credible scientific evidence as to why they should take such a huge share of the quota,” Gatt wrote.

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