THE EUROPEAN Association of Fish Producers Organisations (EAPO) has warned the European Union that action must be taken at the highest level to stop the unregulated fishing of north-east Atlantic mackerel by Icelandic vessels before the stock suffers serious damage.
Members of the EAPO’s northern pelagic working group met EU officials in London on Monday to discuss a range of issues in the lead up to the annual total allowable catch (TAC) and quota negotiations for pelagic stocks which start on 20th October.
High on the agenda was the high level of mackerel landings, principally as a bycatch, in the Icelandic herring fishery this summer, most of which was reduced to meal and oil.
After the meeting working group chairman Derek Duthie said: “The declared landings of mackerel this year from the Icelandic fleet reached 108,000 tonnes. This must be compared to a few hundred tonnes three years ago.
“If this figure is correct, an increase of this proportions can only be described as blatant ‘Olympic fishing’ by Iceland. The Icelandic authorities must be reminded of their obligations under the UN Charter for Responsible Fishing.
“Commissioner Joe Borg must intervene in a matter of such importance to the community fleet as this. It is completely irresponsible of the Icelandic administration to allow an unregulated fishery to continue in an otherwise well-managed stock and commissioner Borg must act to have this slaughter stopped immediately.
“The fleets fishing under the coastal states agreement must not be penalised for the failure of third parties to manage their fleets responsibly.”