The EU has finally moved to ban imports of herring and mackerel from Faroese vessels as the dispute over the jointly fished stock reaches fever pitch.
It follows months of threats from the EU, which claims the Atlanto-Scandian herring stock is being overfished by the Faroe Islands.
Today, the European Commission adopted a package of measures including a ban on imports of both herring and mackerel (and products containing the fish) caught by vessels under the control of the Faroes.
Other measures include restrictions on the use of EU ports by vessels under the control of the Faroes that are fishing for herring and mackerel.
“It is now clear to all that the EU is determined to use all the tools at its disposal to protect the long-term sustainability of stocks”
The imposition of such measures was always done as a very last resort, said Maria Damanaki, European Commissioner for fisheries and maritime affairs. “The Faroes could have put a stop to their unsustainable fishing but decided not to do so. It is now clear to all that the EU is determined to use all the tools at its disposal to protect the long-term sustainability of stocks.”
The measures will come into force seven days after publication in the Official Journal of the European Union.
Until 2013, the Atlanto-Scandian herring stock was managed jointly by Norway, Russia, Iceland, the Faroes and the EU through a long-term management plan.
This year, the Faroes broke the agreement and “established an autonomous quota which more than trebled their previously agreed share”, the Commission said.
The EU is engaged in a similar dispute with Iceland over the management of the North East Atlantic mackerel stock but the Commission confirmed it had not yet taken any action in this regard. It was, however, taking initial steps in this direction.
Last year, in an interview with The Grocer, Damanaki said there were three weapons available to her in tackling unsustainable fishing: dialogue, trade measures, and war.