The Icelandic Ministry of Fisheries and Agriculture today announced Iceland's 2014 mackerel quota, setting the catch quota at 147,574 tons. This represents a 16,6% share of the total mackerel catch recommended by the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) – or just 11.9% of the 1,240,000 tonnes recently decided by the EU, Norway and the Faeroes.
Today's decision is in line with Iceland's commitment to the long-term sustainability of the mackerel stock based on scientific evidence. “Our 2014 mackerel quota supports Iceland's efforts to preserve the mackerel stock, which should be the long term management goal,” says Mr. Sigurdur Ingi Johannsson, Minster of Fisheries and Agriculture.
Iceland reiterates its disappointment at the recently signed five-year tripartite agreement on mackerel fisheries and the fact that it is not a full Coastal State agreement. “We were willing to negotiate our share as a part of a full coastal state agreement.. We need to continue to work as partners, first and foremost to secure the sustainable utilisation of the mackerel stock with longterm interests in mind. Iceland is, as always, ready to participate in a balanced arrangement based on scientific evidence,” adds Minister Johannsson.
The mackerel stock has grown considerably in Iceland's waters in recent years. International studies estimate that 20-30% of the overall Northeast Atlantic mackerel stock is found in Iceland‘s EEZ during its feeding season. The stock gains an estimated 50% of its weight while in Iceland's nutrient-rich waters.
In recent years Iceland's share of the total mackerel catch by the Coastal States (Iceland, the EU, Norway and the Faroe Islands) and Russia and Greenland has been approximately 16-17%. The other three Coastal States have agreed between themselves significantly higher quotas in 2014 amounting to 1,240,000 tonnes – significantly higher than the 890,000 advised by ICES. The quota announced by Iceland today will be equivalent to just 11,9% of the tripartite agreement or as stated above 16,6% of the ICES advice.