The Icelandic Minister of Fisheries and Agriculture, Mr. Sigurdur Ingi Johannsson, regrets that the meeting in Edinburgh yesterday on the management of the mackerel stock concluded without an agreement. It is evident that the opportunity to reach an agreement for the 2014 fishing season has slipped away.
Minister Johannsson said: “I honestly believed that the opportunity given this autumn when ICES raised the advice for the mackerel stock significantly could lead to an agreement; no Coastal State would have had to fish less than in previous years but still utilise the stock in a sustainable manner. This autumn we had reached an understanding with EU based on a sustainable utilization of the stock. Unfortunately, Norway was not willing to negotiate on that basis and insisted on a fishing level far above the ICES advice. It has been Iceland‘s goal to conclude the mackerel negotiations on the basis of scientific assessment, securing the sustainable utilisation of the stock with fair sharing between the Coastal States.”
Iceland has participated in the negotiations on the mackerel stock since accepted as a Coastal State in 2010 after a massive increase of mackerel in Icelandic waters. Iceland has considerably strengthened scientific research on the mackerel stock in order to increase knowledge and understanding of its condition, behaviour and migratory patterns.
Minister Johannsson concluded: “We remain willing to negotiate a solution based on scientific research and advice. Here in Iceland we are proud of our reputation as a responsible fishing nation and we are not willing to jeopardise that.”
The Minister calls for all Coastal States to show responsibility when setting unilateral catch levels.