EU industry calls for action on mackerel overfishing

Europêche and the EAPO have again called for EU action against Norway and Faroe in response to their unilateral decision to increase their mackerel quotas by 55% (Fishing News, 10 June, ‘Norway and Faroe raise mackerel quotas by ‘reckless’ 55%’), echoing the calls from UK industry leaders for action against the two nations by our government.

The two EU industry organisations said: “We reiterate our call on the EU Commission and Council to act swiftly and decisively on this reckless and irresponsible behaviour by using the instruments at its disposal such as trade measures and the IUU regulation.

“In May of this year first Norway and then Faroe Islands decided to unilaterally increase their share in the mackerel fishery by 55% each. Now the fleets of Norway and Faroe Islands, but also the fleets of Iceland, Russia and Greenland, are massively targeting mackerel with as many vessels as possible. To a large extent their fisheries also take place in international waters.

“If this reckless and irresponsible behaviour continues with these coastal states fully utilising their inflated, unjustified quota shares, the total mackerel catch will be 42% higher than the scientific advice that was agreed in November 2020 by all parties.”

EU pelagic industry leader Gerard van Balsfoort said: “The EU cannot and should not let this form of extreme overfishing continue by these coastal states, which is contrary to the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea and particularly the 1995 Straddling Stocks Agreement.

“I find it incredible that at the same time as acting in such an irresponsible manner, they portray themselves to be sustainable and responsible nations. There is no way Norway can defend itself for taking almost 300,000t or 35% of the scientifically advised total mackerel quota of 852,000t, and then fish most of it in the international waters outside their 200-mile zone.

“Norway happily continues to export huge amounts of their seafood, including farmed salmon, to the EU market as if this is business as usual. The EU must immediately start using its power as the world’s largest import market for seafood and take action to stop such reckless and irresponsible behaviour.”

This story was taken from the latest issue of Fishing News. For more up-to-date and in-depth reports on the UK and Irish commercial fishing sector, subscribe to Fishing News here or buy the latest single issue for just £3.30 here.

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