Statement from Sigurður Ingi Jóhannsson, Iceland Minister of Fisheries and Agriculture
“Iceland continues to call for a fair, reasonable solution to the dispute over mackerel catch levels. The threats of sanctions by the EU are counterproductive and excessive, particularly in light of the EU and Norway's own overfishing of mackerel. Attempts to intimidate Iceland by proposing illegal sanctions will not settle this important and sensitive matter. The Prime Minister has again underlined today in Brussels that such proposed sanctions would be in breach of World Trade Organization rules.
Mackerel is a shared stock that requires responsible management by all the Coastal States. Over the past year, we have repeatedly offered proposals that would reduce the Coastal States' catch levels based on independent scientific research, including guidance from the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea. The EU and Norway have rejected all of these proposals. How can we resolve this issue if they will not negotiate?
To reinforce our commitment to sustainable fishing, Iceland lowered its 2013 catch by 15 percent. Even though upto 30 percent of the mackerel stock now reside in Iceland's waters for the summer feeding season, the EU chose to ignore scientific evidence regarding the mackerel stock's changing migratory patterns, collaborating with Norway to unilaterally claim 90 percent of the recommended mackerel catch. We continue to hope that science-based solutions, not bullying of smaller countries by larger ones, can be the answer.
Let me reiterate, that we continue to be eager to negotiate a fair solution for all Coastal States.”