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Ministry of Food٫ Agriculture and Fisheries

The Ministers letter to Nature Conservations

The Minister of Industries and Innovation, Mr Steingrímur J. Sigfússon sent a letter to the World Wildlife Fund and the Iceland Nature Conservation Association in reply to their concerns on the overfishing of mackerel.

The text of the letter is here below:

Thank you for your letter from 2nd October, which I read with sympathy as I share your concerns regarding sustainable utilization of the Northeast Atlantic mackerel stock. Iceland continues to be the most active party in bringing forward reasonable and science-based proposals that would resolve this issue.

The Icelandic government is willing to take the necessary steps in order to protect the stock and ensure sustainability. Through the negotiations, Iceland has proposed that the coastal states, in joint agreement, bring the total catch down toward the level advised by ICES. Since this proposal has not been accepted, I recently proposed that we should, while working towards a negotiated solution, cut the catch by at least 15-20 percent to highlight the firm dedication of all parties in making the catch sustainable. Furthermore, I emphasised the importance of strengthening cooperative scientific research in order to improve evaluation of the overall mackerel stock and better understand its behaviour and migration patterns.

I want to assure you that we are committed to finding a fair solution to the mackerel dispute, with the primary aim of securing sustainable long-term utilization of the stock. Therefore it is of the utmost importance that all the coastal states involved take a shared responsibility in bringing down the catch. I hope that this letter opens the door to ongoing dialogue with your organisations about Iceland's efforts to safeguard the mackerel stock.

Sincerely yours,
Steingrímur J. Sigfússon


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