Iceland's Fisheries Authority has allocated its 131,826 tonnes capelin quota to fishing vessels and companies, and neighbouring countries icleandic mackerel 2023 icelandic access Irish EEZ

The European Commission has not opened formal talks on Icelandic access to fishing mackerel in the Irish EEZ, says an EU official

Irish Sea-Fisheries Protection Authority 2023

An EU Official has told The Fishing Daily that the European Commission has not opened formal talks with Iceland over access for fishing mackerel in EU waters.

Irish fisheries organisations, the Irish Fish Producers Organisation (IFPO), the Irish South and West Fish Producers Organisation (IS&WFPO) along with the Irish Fish Processors and Exporters Association (IFPEA) have expressed grave concern over the possibility of the European Commission granting access to the Icelandic pelagic fleet.

This week the IFPO lambasted the news that the EU was even considering opening negotiations with Iceland as they took issue with the use of mackerel as fish meal.

The Fishing Daily asked a number of questions in relation to the issue of the talks, and an EU official replied.

When asked if there had been communications between the EU and Iceland regarding access to fish mackerel in the Irish EEZ or other member states EEZ, the Commission spokesperson replied:

“The Commission has maintained and continues to maintain close interaction with all Coastal States on these issues, including with Iceland. The Commission has been having talks with Iceland on fisheries management issues. At this stage, they are exploratory talks, and conducted in full coordination with the Council.”

The EU official said that the talks were at an early stage, and nothing has been formalised.

Asked if the European Commission been in contact with the Irish Government regarding the request for access to the Irish EEZ by Iceland, the spokesperson said:

“All discussions with third countries are carried on based on close coordination with the Council. The Commission also interacts regularly at bilateral level with the EU Member States’ authorities including Irish authorities on all matters. There have been technical meetings with the relevant Member States and industry representatives earlier this year and in September, to explore the interests of possible bilateral deals with North-East Atlantic partners.”

Taking from the EU official’s reply, it seems that the Council of Ministers may have been aware of this development from earlier in the year, or September at the latest.

When asked if the European Commission will consult with the Irish Government previous to opening negotiations with Iceland over gaining access to the Irish EEZ to fish mackerel, the Official said:

“The Commission has not yet opened negotiations with Iceland and will only do so if the Member States (the Council) confirm their desire to enter into a strategic cooperation with Iceland. This is the same process as for any international negotiation.”

by Oliver McBride

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