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Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Herring loss sparks EU-Faroe Island trade spat

The Faroe Islands government is to have reacted furiously to the EU decision to ban its fish exports to the Union, due to unsustainable fishing of herring. The small archipelago, which has Danish sovereignty, is threatening to jeopardise multilateral negotiations on herring quota allocations.
Besides the ban the import of herring and mackerel caught by Faroese vessels, as well as all fishery products containing or made of such fish,the EU measures - adopted on 20 August - also include restrictions on the use of EU ports by Faroe Island vessels fishing for herring and mackerel. This means that some Faroese vessels will not be allowed to dock in EU ports, except in cases of emergency.
The EU argues that the Faroe Islands allowed themselves a 229% increase in their herring quota in the North-East Atlantic, breaching a quota agreement reached in a North-East Atlantic Coastal States forum. The  forum's members - Norway, Russia, Iceland, the Faroe Islands and the EU, - have jointly managed the Atlanto-Scandian herring stock until this year.

The Prime Minister of the Faroe Islands, Kaj Leo Holm Johannesen, slammed the decision as an “unacceptable abuse of power by the EU”, describing it as a “contravention” of the EU’s international obligation to cooperate on the management of shared fish stocks. “These measures will seriously undermine efforts to reach a joint management arrangement for the herring, which is necessary,” Johannesen said, adding that his government was now considering international dispute settlement mechanisms.
“It is short-sighted and ill-considered of the EU to take such an unjustifiable step against one of its nearest European neighbours and partners. The Faroe Islands may be small, but we are strategically placed as an important stakeholder in shared pelagic fish stocks in the Northeast Atlantic. It is difficult to see what purpose these measures serve other than to protect fishing industry interests within the EU, “he stated.
Johannesen also indicated that as part of the retaliation, multilateral negotiations on fishing quotas between coastal states - scheduled for early September - would be compromised.

Source: EurActiv.com