Faroes says it is ready to negotiate on mackerel dispute Published: 13 September, 2010
THE Faroe Islands says it is ready to negotiate in an attempt to settle the mackerel dispute. Faroese Foreign Minister Jorgen Niclasen indicated a softening of attitude when he said that he agreed with Scottish Conservative MEP Struan Stevenson “there was a need for an early resolution to ensure sustainable mackerel fisheries for all countries involved.”
The Minister, who was speaking after talks in the Faroese capital Torshaven with Mr Stevenson, further underlined that all coastal states share the responsibility to solve the mackerel issue and find a new agreement on the sharing of this valuable stock. Only a few weeks ahead of the scheduled round of coastal states consultations on the management of mackerel for 2011, Mr Niclasen noted the value of ensuring a constructive dialogue on the issue between all relevant parties.
So far there has been little indication of peace overtures from Iceland, the other country under fire in the dispute.
In a letter to the Scotsman newspaper on Sunday, Struan Steven described Iceland and the Faroe Islands as mackerel bullies.”
The MEP wrote: “The “bullies” are surely Iceland and the Faroe Islands. Iceland has increased its 2010 mackerel quota by an incredible 6,500 per cent to 130,000 tonnes and the Faroes have tripled theirs to 85,000 tons .These are astronomical increases which fly in the face of scientific advice. They have been set without consulting the other nations that have a stake in a healthy North Atlantic mackerel stock.”
He said Iceland and the Faroes argue that since the stock is in their waters, they have every right to fish as much as they like, but they ignored the fact that mackerel was a migratory species which passed through the territorial waters of a number of states.