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Iceland calls for negotiations

Iceland's industry minister Steingrímur J. Sigfússon.

ICELAND has warned the EU that economic sanctions would not contribute towards resolving the row over herring and mackerel catch quotas in the northeast Atlantic.

On Monday, the EU had agreed to initiate trade sanctions against Faroe on herring, but stopped short of introducing similar measures against Iceland.

The country’s industry minister Steingrímur J. Sigfússon has now called on all interested parties to return to the negotiating table “to reach a fair solution to this dispute”.

He said: “We must work together to protect the mackerel stock through sustainable fishing levels based on collaborative scientific research.

“The EU and Norway have claimed 90 percent of the recommended 2013 catch level, leaving only 10 percent for Iceland, the Faroe Islands and Russia combined.

“We worry that this decision was made unilaterally despite research showing that up to 30 percent of the mackerel stock was in Iceland’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) in 2012.

“In addition, mackerel gain approximately 50 percent of their weight in Iceland’s territory, feeding in our nutrient-rich waters.

“We believe a diplomatic solution can be reached, but it has to respect scientific evidence and be fair to all countries, not just the biggest ones.

“Applying economic sanctions will not contribute to a long-term solution but on the contrary make the mackerel issue more difficult to resolve.”