Norwegian Minister of Fisheries Elisabeth Aspaker and Icelandic Minister of Fisheries and Agriculture, Sigurður Ingi Jóhannsson met in Reykjavik 24-25 June 2014 and discussed i.a. the management of Norwegian Spring-Spawning (Atlanto-Scandian) herring.
The Ministers are surprised that the EU and the Faroe Islands have had ”long and intensive negotiations” on the Faroese catch level of herring in 2014, without consulting the other parties concerned. In March 2014 the EU, Iceland, Norway and Russia concluded a four party agreement on the management of herring in 2014, including the level of the TAC. This agreement also provides for a traditional share to the Faroe Islands. The Ministers, however, welcome that the EU will lift their trade sanctions against the Faroe Islands.
According to the EU the Faroe Islands have ”agreed to put an end to their unsustainable herring fishing”. At the same time the Faroe Islands have set an autonomous herring quota of 40 000 tonnes. The Ministers express concern about this situation which implies that the EU has accepted a Faroese quota which is almost twice as high as the Faroese quota forseen in the four party agreement. The Ministers recall that, according to the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea, overfishing of the recommended TAC will accelerate the current stock decline.
The Ministers recognize the right of coastal states to claim renegotiation of agreed sharing of fish stocks. In fact, the EU, Faroe Islands, Iceland, Norway and Russia have agreed to review the sharing of the herring stock on the basis of a joint zonal attachment analysis which will be finalized 1 September 2014. Untill a revised allocation key has been renegotiated, no parties should in any way recognize other parties´ claims for higher shares, the two ministers state.