Following the meeting of coastal states taking part in negotiations in London this past Monday, on division of the mackerel stock, there is every reason to take a closer look at the issue and explain Iceland's perspective. Unfortunately for everyone, the meeting resulted in scant if any progress towards resolving the dispute; for this Iceland bears no more responsibility than others, quite the contrary. The Icelandic delegation arrived at the meeting prepared to show flexibility and to make progress in the matter. As previously stated, Iceland is ready to discuss a possible solution on its part which would be based on it accepting a somewhat smaller share of the total catch than at present in return for access to fishing in waters of other states - and the benefit gained by all from an overall agreement. This would make it possible to reduce the catch towards the level of scientific recommendations, ensuring sustainable utilisation and the long-term protection of the stock. Iceland has also emphasised the importance of boosting research and, among other things, encouraged the EU to participate in joint research conducted by Iceland, the Faroes and Norway. Finally, we have repeatedly proposed that, while no agreement has been reached on sharing the stock, the states all reduce their catches by a specified proportion. We have even stated our readiness to participate in such an action if the largest parties, the EU and Norway, did the same, even if everyone did not adopt such action. As a significant step in this direction, we suggested in London that each party reduce its catch by at least 20% next year. The statements and views expressed by my Norwegian colleague following the meeting were a cause for special surprise. Lisbeth Berg-Hansen still chooses the course of placing all the blame on Iceland and the Faroes, when the truth of the matter is that Norway's inflexible position is one of the main reasons for the lack of progress at the meeting in London.
Ministry of industries and innovation, September 4. 2012