Coastal states agree blue whiting TAC

Iceland, Norway and the Faroe Islands have reached an agreement with the EU over the total allowable catch (TAC) of blue whiting in the Northeast Atlantic.

The new deal will see the TAC increased by 86 per cent for 2014, with the parties agreeing on 1.2m metric tonnes – 557,000 tonnes higher than last year’s limit of 643,000. Of this amount, 1.1m will be allocated to Iceland, Norway and the Faroese, while the North East Atlantic Fisheries Commission will allocate the remainder to third parties.

The TAC is greater than the 948,950 tonnes recommended by the International Council for the Exploration of the Seas (ICES).

The agreement was signed in Oslo following months of negotiations between the respective fisheries, revealed Elisabeth Aspaker, the Norwegian fisheries minister. The talks have also involved tough negotiations on mackerel and herring quotas, which have also affected bilateral talks between the EU, Norway and the Faroese.

The coastal states said that the sizable increase of the TAC for blue whiting was due to an increase in stock as well as good management.

The ICES said last year that historically low catches in 2011 and 2012 as well as higher recruitment has resulted in the biomass in the region almost doubling.