Nordic States and Iceland Overfish in Rush to Present Bogus Track Record in Negotiations with EU
High value mackerel from Irish waters should be used for human consumption in Ireland, not as an animal feed in other countries. That is a message from the Irish Fishing Industry ahead of the EU’s fishing quota negotiations with Norway beginning this week.
In a race to carve out a track record, Iceland is reported in just the last two months to have caught 75% of its enormous self-allocated mackerel quota for fishmeal. Iceland has pursued for more than a decade a consistent policy of overfishing and it fixes a unilateral mackerel quota almost three times greater than Ireland. Iceland is plundering the mackerel stock, but because it is of poor quality when it migrates into Icelandic and international waters, Icelandic vessels are fishing it for fishmeal. This mirrors Norway’s irresponsible overfishing to establish a track record for years.
“This irresponsible overfishing in a short period is driven by the objective of establishing entitlements based on a bogus track record. This is at the expense of the responsible approach of EU Member States,” says Aodh O Donnell, CEO of the Irish Fish Producers Organisation (IFPO).
‘’The reckless behaviour of Norway and Iceland is heightened further given that mackerel catches, which would be highly valuable to Ireland for human consumption purposes, are landed or processed in their countries as a source of salmon and animal feed.
“Mackerel is a single shared migratory stock and which spawns predominantly in Irish waters. We rely on a thriving sustainable stock, and we are guided by the best available science in our management of this resource. We condemn the wasteful and unsustainable practice of fishing a valuable commercial species for fish meal and to support an aquaculture industry’’.
O Donnell says this utilisation of mackerel is scandalous and amounts to chronic overfishing in excess of the scientific recommendations.
We condemn the wasteful and unsustainable practice of fishing a valuable commercial species for fish meal.”
“Irish Waters are a rich and valuable resource that must be protected in the long-term national interest, we have too much to lose. A radical state led change in approach is required.” Aodh O Donnell, CEO, IFPO
“The Irish seafood sector is heavily reliant on mackerel and blue whiting fisheries. However, Norway, Iceland and the Faroe Islands in recent years have consistently pursued inflated unilateral quota, systematically overfishing these species by over 40% yearly. Such practices impact negatively on the stocks, threatening Ireland’s supply.”
Norway has unilaterally secured an enormous share of the total allowable catch (TAC) of the other key species for Ireland -blue whiting. This stock is best fished in Irish waters in the spring of each year, meaning Norway requires access to Irish waters to catch its inflated quota. The catch opportunities available to Norway in Irish waters amounted to 224,000 metric tonnes (MT) last year – 5 time higher than the Irish Quota in our own waters.
“We are at a crossroads and a radical state led change in approach is required. Irish Waters are a rich and valuable resource that must be protected in the long-term national interest, we have too much to lose.”