Coveney will Demand Strong Action against Iceland and the Faroe Islands for Irresponsible and Excessive Mackerel Fishing at Tuesday's Fisheries Council
Simon Coveney TD, Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine is demanding strong action, involving trade sanctions on fishery products against Iceland and the Faroe Islands as a result of their irresponsible and damaging over-fishing of mackerel, reports www.megafishnet.com with reference to Department of Agriculture Fisheries and Food.
There is a common mackerel fish stock in Irish, Norwegian and European waters. These same fish transit through Icelandic and Faroes waters during their migration from Norway to spawn off the south-west of Ireland. If the mackerel stock is overfished in one area, this will damage the stock and reduce the availability for the Irish fishing industry.
The Minister said that "Iceland, for the last three years and the Faroe Islands for the last two, have been operating unilaterally and their fishing levels, which will come to over 300,000 tonnes this year, are completely unsustainable and outside of normal internationally recognised management protocols. The result of the Icelandic and Faroes overfishing is that almost 1 million tonnes of Mackerel will be fished this year, almost 50% more than the scientifically advised maximum outtake from the stock."
Minister Coveney said "Let us be clear, if there is not a resolution to this situation, serious damage will be done to the mackerel stock in EU waters resulting in potentially dramatic reduction of quotas to Irish vessels and to the supply of mackerel to Irish fish factories. This outcome is totally unacceptable as EU/Norwegian fishing policy has resulted in gradually building up the mackerel stock, which now faces destruction from irresponsible fishing by Iceland and Faroes. These two countries, outside the EU, are totally ignoring the responsible management of the stock and if left unchecked, the current behaviour will do economic damage with loss of jobs in the north- west and south -west of Ireland."
Numerous attempts by the EU and Norway over the last number of years to bring Iceland and the Faroe islands into a fair and sustainable management framework for mackerel have failed. On the demands for trade sanctions the Minister said "I have put this issue on Tuesday's EU Fisheries Council agenda as I am very concerned at the delay in introducing legislation to implement trade sanctions against these two countries. The time for inaction is over and there is an immediate need, supported by Member States for legislation to be adopted this autumn". He went on to say that "if left unchecked this level of fishing by Iceland and Faroes will have a detrimental impact on the health of the mackerel stock which is, economically, Ireland's most important fishing resource".
The Council will also discuss methods for setting fishing levels for 2012. On the Commission's proposals the Minister said "I want coherent and scientifically informed arrangements put in place to determine 2012 fishing levels and to sustain our fishing industry and coastal communities".
The Minister plans to meet the Scottish and English fisheries Ministers, Richard Lockhead and Richard Benyon bilaterally. These meetings will focus issues of common interest and in particular the mackerel overfishing by Iceland and the Faroes.