Faroese Prime Minister criticizes EU Commission’s stance on the mackerel issue – Fishupdate.com

Faroese Prime Minister criticizes EU Commission’s stance on the mackerel issue Published:  19 December, 2011

Prime Minister criticizes EU Commission’s stance on the mackerel issue.

The Prime Minister of the Faroe Islands, Mr Kaj Leo Holm Johannesen, has strongly criticised the unconstructive and confrontational approach being taken by the EU Commission on the issue of joint management of mackerel fisheries in the Northeast Atlantic.

The Prime Minister’s remarks were made in particular with regard to a proposed EU regulation intended to provide the EU Commission with the authority to implement trade-related measures directed against fishing nations with which the EU shares fish stocks, such as the mackerel.

The proposed regulation, which, if adopted by both the EU Council of Ministers and the EU Parliament, would provide the EU Commission with a mandate to implement trade measures against countries which the EU alone determines are fishing unsustainably on stocks of shared interest.

“With such a regulation in the pipeline, it appears that the EU intends to negotiate joint fisheries management by intimidation rather in the spirit of cooperation and compromise,“ said Prime Minister Johannesen.“This is a disturbing change in approach by one of our closest and most important partners in both fisheries and trade cooperation. And it is an approach that I am afraid can have negative impacts on cooperation with the EU beyond the specific issue of the mackerel,” he said.

Mr Johannesen noted that all four coastal states are equally responsible for the fact that it has not yet been possible to find a lasting agreement on joint management of mackerel. Consultations are likely to continue early in the New Year.

The Prime Minister expressed his concern about the growing tendency within the EU to deflect discussions on the mackerel away from the EU’s own responsibility as a coastal state to help reach a viable agreement with the other parties.

“If this proposed regulation is to be taken seriously at all, then we must assume that it will be subject to comprehensive scrutiny by all relevant stakeholders, both within the EU and in third countries. It is already difficult to see how the EU proposes to assess the sustainability of its own fisheries in the context of such a regulation. This alone indicates that the adoption and implementation of such a regulation would clearly be incompatible with fundamental provisions of the Agreement establishing the World Trade Organization,” said Prime Minister Johannesen.