Faroe Islands face trade sanctions over fishery quotas

Tiny North Atlantic nation repeatedly defies EU over herring and mackerel quotas

A A A

The Faroe Islands could become the first nation to suffer trade sanctions under new European fishery laws.

The tiny nation, a group of 18 islands in the North Atlantic between Scotland and Iceland, has repeatedly defied the European Union over herring and mackerel quotas and now faces economic retaliation. New laws were created by the EU last year to allow it to impose sanctions in the event of disputes over fish quotas and the Faroes have now been officially notified that trade penalties are being considered as part of the so-called “herring war”.

Ministers for the Faroes have been given a few weeks to respond but if they refuse to back down they face a range of sanctions that could include a ban on all fish products from the islands being imported or landed in the EU.

The UK led calls for economic retaliation this month at the Fisheries Council when European ministers agreed sanctions against the Faroes should be pursued by the European Commission.

Richard Benyon, the UK Fisheries Minister, welcomed the step: “I support the commission in taking the first step towards applying trade sanctions, following the request I made to discuss this last week. I hope the Faroe Islands adopt a more reasonable position and I remain prepared to support trade sanctions if they continue to behave irresponsibly.”

It is the first time the sanctions process has been invoked and, unless a compromise over quotas can be found, it is likely to hit the Faroe Islands especially hard.

Fishing is the main industry on the North Atlantic archipelago and accounts for more than 95 per cent of its exports – about 20 per cent of the gross national product.

In a statement, the European Commission said “the sustainability of the [herring] stock is highly compromised and its recovery possibilities largely diminished” because of the Faroes. It said: “The European Commission has notified the fisheries authorities of the Faroe Islands of its intention to adopt measures in support of the sustainability of herring fisheries shared with the Faroe Islands.

“The measures may include restrictions in the imports of herring and associated species fished by Faroese interests and restrictions on the access of Faroese vessels in EU harbours except for safety reasons.

“This commission action aims to ensure sustainability to avoid a collapse of the stock which would mean that many fishermen and their families would lose their income.”

Mackerel quotas have been a source of conflict for several years with Iceland and the Faroes demanding a greater share, arguing that they were entitled to more because climate change had altered the migration patterns so that more of the fish reached their waters.

The Faroes intensified the dispute when it pulled out of an international agreement on the Atlanto-Scandian herring stock. A total allowable catch of 619,000 tonnes was set for the declining herring fishery for 2013 and the Faroes were offered 31,940 tonnes but awarded itself a 105,000-tonne quota, 145 per cent higher than its 2012 quota. Other nations accepted a 26 per cent cut to protect the stock. For 2013 the Faroes awarded itself a 159,000-tonne mackerel quota, up from 148,000 last year. 

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Front-End UI Application Developer

£30000 - £40000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Front-End UI Application ...

Recruitment Genius: Digital Account Executive

£18000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...

Recruitment Genius: Service Engineers - Doncaster / Hull

£27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Domestic Service Only Engineers are requ...

Recruitment Genius: Employability / Recruitment Adviser

£23600 - £27500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The Employability Service withi...

Day In a Page

Where the spooks get their coffee fix: The busiest Starbucks in the US is also the most secretive

The secret CIA Starbucks

The coffee shop is deep inside the agency's forested Virginia compound
Revealed: How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Loch Ness Monster 'sighting'

How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Nessie 'sighting'

The Natural History Museum's chief scientist was dismissed for declaring he had found the monster
One million Britons using food banks, according to Trussell Trust

One million Britons using food banks

Huge surge in number of families dependent on emergency food aid
Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths 2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths trove
The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey, 25 years on

The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey 25 years on

The space telescope was seen as a costly flop on its first release
Did Conservative peer Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

Did Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

A document seen by The Independent shows that a week after he resigned from the Lords he sold 350,000 shares in an American company - netting him $11.2m
Apple's ethnic emojis are being used to make racist comments on social media

Ethnic emojis used in racist comments

They were intended to promote harmony, but have achieved the opposite
Sir Kenneth Branagh interview: 'My bones are in the theatre'

Sir Kenneth Branagh: 'My bones are in the theatre'

The actor-turned-director’s new company will stage five plays from October – including works by Shakespeare and John Osborne
The sloth is now the face (and furry body) of three big advertising campaigns

The sloth is the face of three ad campaigns

Priya Elan discovers why slow and sleepy wins the race for brands in need of a new image
How to run a restaurant: As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food

How to run a restaurant

As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food
Record Store Day: Remembering an era when buying and selling discs were labours of love

Record Store Day: The vinyl countdown

For Lois Pryce, working in a record shop was a dream job - until the bean counters ruined it
Usher, Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert as part of the Global Poverty Project

Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert

The concert in Washington is part of the Global Citizen project, which aims to encourage young people to donate to charity
10 best tote bags

Accessorise with a stylish shopper this spring: 10 best tote bags

We find carriers with room for all your essentials (and a bit more)
Paul Scholes column: I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England

Paul Scholes column

I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England
Jessica Ennis-Hill: 'I just want to give it my best shot'

Jessica Ennis-Hill: 'I just want to give it my best shot'

The heptathlete has gone from the toast of the nation to being a sleep-deprived mum - but she’s ready to compete again. She just doesn't know how well she'll do...