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Iceland Discontent with Latest Mackerel Offer

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Iceland Discontent with Latest Mackerel Offer

The Icelandic delegation in the mackerel coastal state talks—the second series of meetings ended in London yesterday—is discontent with the latest proposal from the European Union and Norway, a 3.1 percent share in the mackerel quota.

herring_ps

Herring, another fish which has caused disputes between Iceland and Norway. Photo by Páll Stefánsson.

“The unfair position of Norway and the EU, which is reflected in their ridiculous proposal of a 3.1 percent share for Iceland in the mackerel fishing quota next year, is disappointing. The proposal is completely unrealistic and does not contribute towards resolving the issue,” commented Tómas H. Heidar, the delegation’s chairman, to Fréttabladid.

The second series of meetings between the four negotiation parties, Iceland, Norway, the Faroe Islands and the EU, took place in London this week from Tuesday to Thursday. The first series of meetings ended earlier this month.

This year Iceland issued a unilateral quota, 17 percent of the mackerel fishing stock. If the proposal of 3.1 percent had been accepted, it would mean a drop from a catch of 130,000 tons to 26,000 tons.

Minister of Fisheries Jón Bjarnason agrees with Heidar, declaring at a general meeting of the Federation of Icelandic Fishing Vessel Owners (LÍÚ) yesterday that the proposal, which was made by Norway and supported by the EU, was absurd.

Heidar said the proposal indicates that “these parties believe that they own the mackerel stock, in fact, and have the authority to ration a little bit of quota to Iceland and the Faroe Islands.”

Heidar added it had taken Norway and the EU many years to recognize Iceland’s position as a coastal state and they probably need some time to get used to the changed distribution and run of the mackerel stock.

In light of that, it may be unrealistic to assume that the same parties will be quick to acknowledge Iceland’s fair share of the mackerel stock, Heidar said.

The mackerel talks will continue in London November 8-12.

Click here to read more about the mackerel dispute.

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