Fishing reps call on EU to take action against Norwegian fishing practices

“Norway continues to flout its responsibilities in wild-caught fisheries such as mackerel.”
Fresh mackerel on ice
Fresh mackerel on ice | Photo courtesy of Jorge Manso/Shutterstock
6 Min

Irish fishing representatives and E.U. advisory councils are seeking to tie Norway’s access to the E.U. market – which buys around 70 percent of Norway’s farmed salmon annually – to negotiations over fishery quotas, arguing that the Norwegian seafood industry should not be able to enjoy such large access to the E.U. while also fishing unsustainably in European waters.

The Irish Fish Producers Organization (IFPO) specifically wants to stop Norway’s practice of setting unilateral quotas for North Atlantic mackerel stocks – a practice IFPO said continues to endanger the stock’s sustainability.

“Norway continues to flout its responsibilities in wild-caught fisheries such as mackerel,” IFPO CEO Aodh O’Donnell said.

O’Donnell said he believes one way to cull the practice is the E.U. scaling back access to its market for Norwegian farmed salmon as long as officials in Oslo are setting unilateral quotas for Northeast Atlantic mackerel stocks, which, he said, are “at variance with scientific advice.”

Instead of a unilaterally set quota, IFPO is calling for a comprehensive coastal sharing arrangement.

This type of agreement aligns with an October 2023 letter from the E.U. Pelagic Advisory Council (PelAC) calling on the E.U. Commission to take “immediate action to stop unilateral quotas which exceed scientific advice and jeopardize the sustainable management of shared stocks.”

PelAC also suggested the E.U. promote a coastal sharing agreement and use commercial measures such as tariffs or quotas on Norwegian goods, because the unilateral quotas and fishing pressure from Norway and the Faroe Islands were “putting the sustainability of the mackerel stock in question.”

Efforts to regulate Norway’s fishing practices bloc-wide, like IFPO and others are calling for, may have taken a blow due to the outcome of parliamentary elections that took place in June.

Europêche Managing Director Daniel Voces de Onaíndi worries that the rightward tilt coming out of the election may undermine the ...

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