EU hits out at Iceland's mackerel quota –

EU hits out at Iceland’s mackerel quota Published:  08 April, 2009

THE EU has added its weight to the mounting opposition to Iceland’s unilateral decision to allocate itself a 112,000 tonne mackerel quota.

The European Commission has issued a statement saying Iceland’s plans contradicted global agreements on reviving depleted stocks, but the authorities in Reykjavik remain in defiant mood replying that it is not party to such an accord.

A dispute has been simmering between Iceland and her neighbour Norway for the past ten days although it is understood the two countries are hoping to cool the situation through talks.

The row erupted after the North East Atlantic Fisheries Commission set itself has set a 640,000 tonne quota for Norway and EU member countries, but excluded Iceland in any share of that quota.

It was then that Iceland announced her unilateral action which prompted Norway to threaten to ban Icelandic fishing boats from her waters.

Now the European Union’s executive arm has said it was worried by Iceland’s move. The European Commission said in a statement Iceland’s quota would result in a complete reversal of the improved trends in the mackerel stock and would nullify any conservation efforts.

Iceland claims it has full rights to catch fish within its territorial fishing limits. Hrefna Karlsdottir, Iceland’s permanent secretary at the Fisheries Ministry, said her country had not broken any international deals as it was not party to any.

Iceland had repeatedly requested to be a partner in the management of mackerel stocks in the Northeast Atlantic, but had deliberately been kept out.