Ireland North West MEP Pat the Cope Gallagher has provided a cautious welcome to the announcement by EU Fisheries Commissioner Maria Damanaki that she will introduce trade sanctions against Iceland and the Faroe Islands due to their overfishing of mackerel in the North East Atlantic.
However, Pat the Cope Gallagher MEP stated today “The detail is all important as the Commissioner must implement broad and wide ranging sanctions for them to be meaningful and these measures must be introduced with immediate effect.”
The mackerel fishery is worth EUR 125 million to the Irish pelagic industry and is the most important fishery in Killybegs, Ireland’s largest fishing port.
Pat the Cope Gallagher MEP was responsible in the European Parliament for overseeing the introduction of a new piece of legislation introducing trade sanctions aimed at preventing unsustainable fishing and he later secured a trialogue agreement with the Danish Presidency and the European Commission. Notably, Mr. Gallagher strengthened the legislation providing the Commission with an effective and meaningful tool to tackle unsustainable fishing practices.
EU Commissioner Maria Damanaki has now promised to use the Gallagher Regulation against Iceland and the Faroe Islands due to their overfishing of mackerel. Separately, the Commissioner will introduce sanctions against the Faroe Islands due to their overfishing of Atlanto Scandia herring, also in the North East Atlantic.
Pat the Cope Gallagher MEP further stated “The most important issue is what exactly the trade sanction instrument will contain. If the sanction only relates to mackerel, it will be effectively worthless as Iceland and the Faroe Islands export the majority of its mackerel catch to countries outside the EU. The sanctions must include what is known as associated species, which is contained in the Regulation that I strengthened in the Parliament. Furthermore, farmed salmon exports to the EU from the Faroe Islands must also be included as the salmon is fed with fish meal made from both herring and mackerel.”
Pat the Cope Gallagher MEP concluded “Regrettably Iceland and the Faroe Islands have only themselves to blame due to their reckless and unsustainable behaviour. The facts are that Iceland’s share of mackerel in the North East Atlantic was 1% in 2006, it now stands at almost 23% in 2013. The Faroe Islands have increased its share from 4.6% in 2009 to 29.3% in 2013.”