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“The herring dispute between the EU and the Faroe Islands is over”

Maria Damanaki, Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, stated after her meeting with Mr Verstergaard, Faroese Minister for Fisheries that “The herring dispute between the EU and the Faroe Islands is over”.

She said: 

"Ladies and Gentlemen,

Thanks for being with us today. I very much welcome Minister Vestergaard here in Athens.

We discussed a challenge that we are facing in all European sea basins, be it here in the Mediterranean region or in the North East Atlantic: we need to get back to healthy fish stocks in Europe. Whereas the situation in the Mediterranean is alarming, with more than 90% of the stocks overfished, a lot of work also needs to be done in the Atlantic where fish stocks are slowly recovering.

Until recently the EU and the Faroe Islands had disagreements about the sustainable management of mackerel, Atlanto-Scandian herring and blue whiting in the North East Atlantic. But the Faroe Islands agreed this summer to end their unsustainable fishery. So I am very happy to say that the EU last week lifted its trade measures that were imposed in reaction to the unsustainably high catch limits.

In today's discussions, Minister Vestergaard and I were in full agreement on three things:

  • First, we agreed that the herring dispute between the EU and the Faroe Islands is over. Faroese fishermen are back in EU waters and European fishermen have taken up their traditional fisheries in Faroese waters. This is good news for all sides.

  • Second, we agreed that we had a common objective: sustainable fisheries in the North-East Atlantic. If we want to continue fishing in these waters, we need to stick to the advice of our scientists on the state of the fish stocks.

  • Third, we agreed that we needed to work hand in hand to reach this objective. We need to agree among all five coastal states in the North East Atlantic on our quotas: the European Union, the Faroe Islands, Iceland, Norway and Russia. And the resolution of the bilateral dispute between the EU and the Faroe Islands is without prejudice to the outcome of our upcoming talks about the 2015 catch limits this autumn.

I look forward to a strategic partnership that the EU and the Faroe Islands could develop with these three points in mind."

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