Sunday, January 6, 2013

Fishermen back sanctions against Iceland over mackerel catch

Caroline Davies in the Guardian (UK): Evoking memories of the "cod wars" of the 1970s, fishermen are backing a threat of sanctions against Icelandic vessels in a move that could wreak havoc on Britain's fish-processing industry and put jobs at risk. Incensed at Iceland's decision to massively increase its mackerel quotas, the European Union is considering sanctions which could include a ban on Icelandic fishing boats landing any catch at EU ports.

The sanction threat is being supported by Scottish skippers who fear the amount of mackerel they can catch could be slashed if Iceland, and also the Faroe Islands, continue to award themselves huge quotas. Mackerel is Scotland's most valuable fish, with £164m worth landed in 2011 out of a total UK landed catch of £205m.

However, Grimsby, the UK's major fish-processing centre, and the Humber area rely heavily on Icelandic seafood, particularly cod.

So-called "mackerel wars" have raged since 2008 when Iceland, which previously caught little of the fish, unilaterally increased its quota after the numbers in its waters increased dramatically – believed to be as a result of warmer waters due to climate change.

Now, the EU is under pressure from fishermen in Scotland and Norway to bring in trade restrictions after some 12 rounds of talks have failed to reach any agreement, or make any progress....

Shot by Jessica, Wikimedia Commons via Flickr, under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license

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