SPPA pushes EU for mackerel sanctions


SeafoodSource staff

Published on
July 29, 2013

A prominent Scottish herring and mackerel processors association is urging the E.U. to approve trade sanctions against the Faroe Islands, effectively blocking the Danish province from selling herring and mackerel to E.U. countries.

The Scottish Pelagic Processors Association (SPPA) also pressed for sanctions against the Icelandic fisheries.

The statements come as European Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Maria Damanaki nears a decision on whether to levy sanctions against the Faroes. Earlier this month, Damanaki said she would make a decision at the end of July on whether the Faroes’ higher-than-usual quotas for herring and mackerel warranted sanctions.

Both the Faroes and Iceland have come under fire from Norway and the E.U. for having high quotas for both herring and mackerel. Critics argue that the quotas could lead to overfishing, and damage to the stocks. Officials from Iceland and the Faroes have argued that herring and mackerel stocks have migrated north, and the E.U. and Norway should lower their quotas to prevent overfishing and reflect the changes in herring and mackerel behavior.

According to the SPPA, cutting E.U. quotas would be too much of a hardship on fishermen, especially in the U.K.

“Mackerel processing alone supports around 2,260 jobs in the UK with several hundred more involved in fishing,” said Ian McFadden, SPPA’s chairman. “For several years now the Faroese and Icelandic fisheries have aggressively increased their quotas of mackerel and refused to negotiate with the EU and Norway, which have historically worked together to ensure sustainable fishing practices. This activity is a real threat to jobs in the UK and to the economy of some communities which rely on mackerel and herring as the main source of employment.”

Damanaki and the E.U. Committee on Fisheries and Aquaculture will meet on the issue on 31 July. Officials are expected to make their decision on sanctions then.

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