Faroe Islands walks away from talks
By Anne Eckstein | Monday 28 January 2013
Commissioner Maria Damanaki briefed the member states’ fisheries ministers, meeting in Brussels on 28 January, on the agreement sealed with Norway, on 18 January, on the management of shared fish stocks. While the Union’s mackerel dispute with Iceland and the Faroe Islands is nowhere near being resolved, a second conflict sprang up over Atlanto-Scandian herring and the Faroe Islands delegation left the negotiating table. Here, too, the problem is the distribution of fishing quotas.
As part of the annual negotiations on the management of shared stocks, and in the absence of an agreement with Iceland and the Faroe Islands, the EU and Norway claimed for themselves 90% of the mackerel quotas. Iceland has already expressed its disapproval of the decision. The majority of member states insisted that the Commission activate the procedure to implement the regulation that imposes sanctions on countries practicing non-sustainable fishing. Estonia alone argued for being patient, saying that Iceland is in the midst of its EU accession negotiations. The commissioner does not seem very comfortable with the prospect of launching that procedure. One of the conditions required is the obligation for both parties to demonstrate that they are open to negotiation and their willingness to engage in sustainable fishing. By claiming 90% of the stock (even if it is in the framework of an overall quota reduction), the EU does not really seem to be demonstrating a willingness to negotiate. That said, though, after assessing the situation the Commission may propose measures at the February Council.