Danish (and Scottish) frustration over lack of action on mackerfel and herring dispute Published: 14 May, 2013
DANISH fishermen, who have been pressing for sanctions against the Faroe islands and Iceland over their mackerel policies, have been receiving mixed messages about possible sanctions against these two countries.
A few weeks ago they were told that EU measures against the two countries were not around the corner. The Danish Fishermen’s Association expressed strong criticisms of the European Union at its annual meeting a few weeks ago over its reluctance to impose sanctions against the two rebel states.
The Danish Food Minister Mette Gjerskov, who attended the Danish Federation’s annual meeting, said she could not promise that sanctions such as a ban on Icelandic and Faroese fish or seafood products, was close at hand, adding they could still be some time away. However, the Federation has now learned that the EU Commission is actively working to impose trade sanctions against the Faroe Islands (no mention of Iceland as yet), but not because of its self-imposed mackerel quota.
Apparently the EU could be preparing to hit the 50,000 people who live in the Faroes over the government’s decision to treble the size of its Atlanto Scandian herring quota, a move which has also angered the Norwegians. This decision has been described as “irresponsible”. EU Fisheries Commissioner aired the possibility of sanctions at a recent meeting of the European Parliament. Esben Jensen, a director of the Danish Pelagic Fish Producers Organisation, said it was quite reasonable for the EU to put some pressure on the Faroese on this issue.
But the Faroese Fisheries Minister Jacob Vestergaard describe comments by the EU Fisheries Commissioner Maria Damanaki as “misleading and incomplete”. He said his country had been excluded from negotiations over the way the quota should be divided. Meanwhile, the mackerel dispute involving Iceland and Faroe was top of the agenda when EU fisheries ministers met in Brussels yesterday. Scottish fishermen are growing increasingly impatient over the lack of action. As the Brussels meeting took place, the Scottish Pelagic Fishermen’s Association accused the EU of dragging its feet in the matter.