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The conflict with the herring in the North Atlantic is over

29 August 2014 / 19:08:57  GRReporter
2054 reads

Simon Peneva

The European Commission and the Faroe Islands have reached an agreement to end the embargo on fishing after the extensive discussions held in recent months. Under the agreement, the Faeroe Islands undertake to put an end to the unsustainable fishing of herring and the Commission to present a draft regulation to eliminate the restrictions it had imposed on the islands in August 2013, with regard to the trade at, and the access to, European Union ports. Before being approved, the project will be considered by the European Union Member States.

In addition, both sides have agreed to close the appeal procedure that the Faroe Islands triggered at the World Trade Organization in accordance with the UN Convention on Law of the Sea, in response to the trade measures imposed by the European Union.

This was announced at a press conference in Athens, where European Commissioner Maria Damanaki said that the main objective of both parties is to ensure sustainable management of the vital fishery stocks of the North Atlantic Ocean, mostly of mackerel, Atlanto-Scandian herring and whiting. "I am very happy because after intense negotiations the herring conflict will soon be past and fishermen from the Faroe Islands will be able to return to European waters and European fishermen to continue their traditional fishing around the islands. Now, the most important thing is to work together for sustainable fishing in the North Atlantic Ocean," said Maria Damanaki. She compared the situation in the North Atlantic with that in the Mediterranean Sea and stressed that Greece has serious problems and needs to put more efforts into preserving the various fish stocks and their exports. If the country does its utmost in terms of this and improves fishing trade it has the potential to become a fishing leader in the Mediterranean, and not only. In the future, Maria Damanaki hopes that Greece will cooperate with Russia, Norway and Greenland.

European Commissioner for Maritime Policy and Fisheries Maria Damanaki and Minister of Fisheries of the Faroe Islands Jacob Vestergaard further strengthened their strategic partnership. After the visit of Maria Damanaki to the Faroe Islands in December, Jacob Vestergaard visited Athens. They appreciated the recent normalization of relations in the fisheries sector between the European Union and the Faroe Islands. After the unilateral increase in the fishing of mackerel in 2010 on the part of the Faroe Islands, fishermen from both parties could not fish where they were traditionally fishing. For this reason, a year ago, the European Commission imposed trade measures against the Faroe Islands to protect the stocks of Atlanto-Scandian herring. It banned the imports of herring and mackerel caught from these stocks in the fisheries of these islands and of fish products produced from this fish.

Minister of Fisheries of the Faroe Islands is also satisfied with the agreement. "We have a small population, about fifty thousand people. We rely entirely on fishing, it is our hope. 95% of our exports are fish and fish products," said the Minister. For him the most important fact is that the relations with the European Union have improved and that the Atlanto-Scandian herring will be protected. According to Jacob Vestergaard the accession of the Faroe Islands to the European Union cannot be discussed mainly because they are an independent authority within the Kingdom of Denmark.

Both representatives are of the opinion that this strategic partnership can turn into a new generation of collaboration.


Tags: Faroe IslandsEmbargoHerringMackerelEuropean UnionFishing quotasMediterranean SeaGreeceMaria Damanaki
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