The Europe Commission has issued a press release to highlight its concern at the setting of a mackerel quota of 85 000 tonnes by the Faroe Islands for 2010, an amount three times higher than the quota agreed under the multilateral management arrangements between the EU, Norway and the Faeroe Islands in force until 2009.
This high quota follows in the wake of the establishement by Iceland of a mackerel quota of 130 000 tonnes, again far higher than it has traditionally set.
The Commission states that this move away from sustainable fisheries for North East mackerel puts the stock at risk of collapse and it will be seeking consultations to end the situation. Fisheries Commissioner Maria Damanaki hints at ending fisheries agreements with the states as a last resort.
The Commission’s concerns have been echoed in states where mackerel is a valuable stock. The Scottish fisheries secretary Richard Lochhead called the actions of Iceland and the Faroes “irresponsible”. Norway has prevented landings from Icelandic and Faroese vessels in its ports. The NGO WWF warned in a statement that unilateral setting of high quotas could be a “death sentence” for fish stocks.