The screening meeting with the European Union on Chapter 13 – Fisheries – was concluded in Brussels on 2 March 2011. At the meeting, which was the latter one of two, experts from Iceland presented a detailed overview of fisheries and related legislation in Iceland. The Icelandic team was headed by Mr. Kolbeinn Árnason, Chairman of the Negotiation Group on Fisheries.
The Icelandic experts placed emphasis on the special characteristics of the Icelandic fishing industry, which is significantly more important economically for Iceland than any member State of the EU. They described the achievements of the fisheries management system, which has been more successful in Iceland than within the EU. Special attention was brought to the fact that most of Iceland's fish stocks are local and that its 200 nm Exclusive Economic Zone has no common border with the zones of any EU member State.
At the screening meeting, the EU Commission was made aware of the reservations made under this chapter in the Opinion of the majority of the Foreign Relations Committee of the Parliament on the application for membership of the European Union, e.g. the control by the Icelandic authorities over marine resources based on the principle of sustainable utilisation. The Opinion also emphasizes the principles of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, which ensures certain fundamental rights. Furthermore, the majority considers it of great importance that Iceland retains, to the extent possible, the right to negotiate agreements on the management of straddling stocks, thereby securing the greatest possible rights for Iceland. The delegation emphasized Iceland's opposition to EU rules that allow for the discarding of fish.
Strong emphasis was also put on the possibility to limit foreign investments in the Icelandic fishing industry to ensure that revenues from this resource stay in Iceland. This view is considered very important in the Opinion of the majority of the Foreign Relations Committee.
The acquis of the EU on fisheries is very extensive and Chapter 13 is not covered by the EEA Agreement.