The failure to reach an agreement on mutual zone access on mackerel fishing between Norway and the Faroe Islands will have a detrimental impact on the Faroese fleet
The failure of Norway and the Faroe Islands to reach an agreement on mutual zone access for the mackerel fishery will have a detrimental impact on the Faroese ability to catch the remainder of their mackerel quota.
The Faroe Islands caused controversy again in June this year when the government there unilaterally set a mackerel quota for 2022 of 155,804 tonnes. The move was widely condemned by the Scottish fishing industry and the European Union who both said that it was unacceptable as they increased their share of the total allowable catch by 55%.
Norway had also unilaterally set a quota for mackerel at 278,222 tonnes and received widespread condemnation as they did in 2021 when the set a quota of 298,299 tonnes.
This year’s total quota corresponds to the recommended total catch and is 794,920 tonnes.
Now, according to reports in the Norwegian fishing industry magazine, Fiskeribladet, the Faroe Islands are banned from the Norwegian zone, meaning they will struggle to take the mackerel quota.
This has happened because Norway and the Faroe Islands have failed to agree on mutual zone access in mackerel fishing.
“Taking this year’s mackerel quota could mean extra trouble for the Faroe Islands,” says Fiskeribladet.
“The Faroe Islands have fished 38,200 tonnes of mackerel in the international zone this year, while 26,500 tonnes have been fished in the Faroese zone,” they say and, “Despite the early start of mackerel fishing in the Faroe Islands, the country’s pelagic fleet has so far only fished 40 percent of the island kingdom’s mackerel quota.”
The Faroe Islands began their mackerel fishing with the large fleet in June and have thus been fishing for about two months until now. The Faroese government received criticism for granting Russia a mackerel quota of 13,000 tonnes, despite the illegal Russian invasion of the Ukraine.
The lack of access to the Norwegian zone has caused concern for the Faroese.
“Since our fleet does not have access to the British zone and for the time being neither to the Norwegian zone this year, it places a limitation on the possibilities for fishing mackerel,” department head of the Faroe Islands’ Directorate of Fisheries, Jòhan Simonsen told Fiskeribladet.