Reports that Iceland and Greenland have both decided to increase their quotas for this year’s mackerel fishery have sparked an angry response from the chair of the European Parliament’s Fisheries Committee, who has said that sanctions could be applied.
Iceland is reported to be increasing this season’s mackerel quota from 107,000 tonnes to 140,000 tonnes, while Greenland is reported to be following suit with an 18% increase.
The chair of the European Parliament Fisheries Committee, UK MEP Chris Davies, has already had a meeting with Brian Isbister, Chair of The Shetland Fish Producers’ Organisation, to discuss the issues faced by fishing vessels from the Shetland Islands, as well as exploring appropriate measures which might be levelled at Iceland and Greenland, should they continue to disregard scientific advice and internationally agreed policy.
‘The argument is between short term greed or long term sustainability. Mackerel can be plentiful so long as we manage the stocks with care. When the scientific evidence is contradictory we should adopt a precautionary approach,’ Chris Davies said, referring to the ICES recommendation for a 20% reduction in this year’s mackerel fishery.
‘Iceland is acting irresponsibly. The country is supposed to be our partner, but its actions are anything but friendly and we should respond strongly,’ he said.
‘The European Commission is making very clear that, Brexit or no Brexit, it intends to support Scottish fishermen. I welcome this, but strong words are not enough. The EU should be prepared to apply sanctions that will make clear that Iceland’s behaviour is unacceptable.’