Statement from Sigurður Ingi Jóhannsson, Iceland’s Minister of Fisheries and Agriculture

Iceland_Coat_Of_Arms34“We were pleased to welcome EU Commissioner Maria Damanaki to Iceland last week to discuss the ongoing debate over mackerel fishing rights in the North Atlantic. At the meeting Iceland expressed its sincere willingness to return to the negotiating table as soon as possible in order to find a fair solution to this dispute – a willingness that I gladly reiterate today. Preserving the mackerel stock and bringing the catches to sustainable levels has always been our top priority and Iceland’s government and fishing industry remain willing and ready to play our part.

Mackerel is a precious resource for Iceland and our fellow Coastal States, including the European Union, Norway and the Faroe Islands. We must all work together to protect the mackerel stock through sustainable fishing levels based on collaborative scientific research. Iceland has cut its 2013 mackerel catch by 15 percent to help sustain the long-term health of the stock. We hope the other negotiating countries will join us at the negotiating table with the same sense of urgency.”