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EU Closes Market For Mackerel And Herring From Faroe Islands


EU member states have made the decision to impose sanctions against the Faroe Islands on its trade of herring and mackerel to the European Union, and close its market to these fish. The measures arise after overfishing of these species has come to light as a major problem in the region.

The Faroe Islands unilaterally made the decision to treble its existing herring quota from 31,940 tons to 105,000 tons. This prompted the EU Member States Committee to back the European Commission in its proposal to adopt trade sanctions against the Islands.
The Faroe’s decision to raise its quota is said to put the long term health and sustainability of this fish stock under threat. Other countries have reduced their quotas by 26 percent, highlighting the Faroe Islands as being uncooperative. Mackerel was also added to the regulation as it is caught alongside herring.
EU Fisheries Commissioner, Maria Damanaki welcomed the outcome: “I am glad the Committee supported the proposal of the Commission on adopting trade measures on the Faroe Islands.
“Given the gravity of the situation and the lack of co-operation from the Faroese authorities, we had no option but to move ahead and take all necessary steps in ensuring a sustainable herring fishery managed in a joint manner by all coastal states.”
But the Faroe Islands strongly objects the verdict, referring the threat of the EU economic sanctions on Atlanto-Scandian herring to the United Nations. The government of capital Torshavn has requested the issue to be handled by an arbitral tribunal.
A discussion into the matter during a meeting of coastal states to the Atlanto-Scandian herring has been planned for early September to converse on the management of the herring stock.
The opposition from Faroes Islands outlines that the EU actions have demonstrated unwillingness to resolve disputes by peaceful means and a reluctance to cooperate in a necessary manner in order to reach an agreement on the matter.
The trade sanction decision shows that the EU is getting stricter on stock management and is willing to close the market for anyone who breaks quotas. The EU wants to demonstrated its power to impose its view on sustainable management of fish stocks in the waters of non EU-countries.

No such sanction has ever been implemented for tuna, but the situation is not one that can be ruled out in the future. EU did close its borders earlier to nations suspected of supplying IUU tuna.