MEPs adopt Gallagher's sanctions call against unsustainable fishing

Thu, Sep 13, 2012, 01:00

The European Parliament has voted in favour of a report by Irish MEP Pat the Cope Gallagher advocating sanctions against non- EU countries engaged in unsustainable fishing. Some 659 parliamentarians voted in favour and seven against the report.

It was drafted in response to the current dispute between the EU and Iceland and the Faroe Islands over the migratory mackerel stock.

Minister for the Marine Simon Coveney has already advocated sanctions against the two states for landing catches of mackerel over and above scientific advice.

Negotiations normally take place every year between the EU and Norway on a share-out of the stock. Iceland and the Faroe Islands argue that the stock has moved farther north into their waters.

Imposing sanctions against Iceland is complicated by the dependence of EU member states on imports of Icelandic fish, principally cod.

Mr Gallagher welcomed yesterday’s vote, stating that the legislation would enable the EU to “enforce measures against countries or territories, which blatantly disregard the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea and the UN Fish Stocks Agreement”.

He added: “These new measures are vitally important for Ireland’s €125 million mackerel fishery, which is the backbone of the pelagic sector in Killybegs and the northwest.”

However, Mr Gallagher said he would like to make “one final appeal to all sides involved in the mackerel dispute” to redouble efforts towards a resolution.

“Ultimately no side will gain – not Iceland, not the Faroese, not the EU, not Norway – if we continue to fish above the recommended scientific advice.”