An agreement on the mackerel fishery for 2018 was reached earlier this month in London between the European Union, Norway and Faroe Islands.
The Parties agreed on a long-term strategy for the management of the mackerel fishery for the period up to 2021. On the basis of this long-term management strategy, the Parties agreed to recommend a TAC of 816,797 tonnes for the 2018 mackerel fishery in the Northeast Atlantic.
The EU has a quota of 402,596 tonnes to split between member states.
The agreement gives the Faroe Islands a 103,000 tonnes mackerel quota next year, and 183,857 to Norway, with 15% set aside for the third nations that are not party to the agreement – which means primarily Iceland and Greenland.
The decision was made to cut the quota by only 20% to 816,000 tonnes, and not to the 551,000 tonne TAC recommended by ICES, in line with the recommendation for the coming years that quotas should not vary by more than 20% between years.
The agreement is on the same lines as previous agreements, based on the 2014 tripartite agreement. As the UK is expected to leave the EU in 2019, which will lead to a new set of arrangements between the coastal states.
The current agreement sets aside quotas for other fishing parties, such as Iceland and Greenland. Parties also agreed on further co-operation in the field of monitoring and control of pelagic fishing activities in the Northeast Atlantic.
‘The agreement on the long-term management strategy is an important step for the sound management and sustainable exploitation of the mackerel stock,’ said Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Karmenu Vella.
‘This stock is by far the most economically important stock for the EU fishing industry, and we have agreed to a strategy that is fully in line with the principles of the Common Fisheries Policy, in particular the objective of Maximum Sustainable Yield. We welcome that the decisions for the 2018 TAC were taken on the basis of the best available scientific advice as provided by the International Council on the Exploration of the Seas, ICES. The TAC for 2018 promotes the conservation needs of the stock and seeks stability for the industry.’
Besides this three-Party Agreement, two bilateral agreements were signed with Norway on license and management arrangements for the mackerel fishery. These will facilitate and regulate EU fleets’ access to Norwegian waters, and vice versa.