The European Union Is Done Trying To Beat Up Israel So Now They've Turned Their Attention To The Faroe Islands Herring Catch:
As reported in the New York Times:
Europe Set to Impose Sanctions on Faroe Islands Over Herring
Jonathan Nackstrand/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
By DAVID JOLLY
Published: August 20, 2013
PARIS — The European Commission said on Tuesday that it was enacting tough trade sanctions against the Faroe Islands after the tiny North Atlantic territory unilaterally increased its herring quota.
The European fisheries commissioner, Maria Damanaki, said in a statement that the European Union was banning the import of herring and mackerel caught in waters under Faroese control, as well as products made from those fish, which make up the greatest part of the territory’s exports. In addition, Faroese vessels will be prohibited from unloading their herring and mackerel catches at European Union ports.
“The Faroese could have put a stop to their unsustainable fishing but decided not to do so,” Ms. Damanaki said. “It is now clear to all that the E.U. is determined to use all the tools at its disposal to protect the long-term sustainability of stocks.”
Fish and fish products make up about 95 percent of Faroe Islands exports, said Gunnar Holm-Jacobsen, director of the Faroese foreign service, worth about $1 billion. The territory exports herring and mackerel worth about $232 million, he said, with about half of that going to the European Union.
The Faroese prime minister, Kaj Leo Holm Johannesen, denounced the European Union’s move as “deeply disappointing” and said his government was seeking United Nations arbitration of the issue.
Clearly, the trade battle is an unequal one: the Faroes have a population of 50,000, compared to the European Union’s 507 million. The Faroes, which are under Danish sovereignty, do not belong to the European Union.
The sanctions are aimed specifically at herring. but also encompass mackerel because the two species school together. The sanctions, set to begin by the end of the month, will heavily weigh on the Faroese economy, of which more than two-thirds is based on fisheries.
“It will be very painful,” Mr. Holm-Jacobsen said. “Our industry will have to find new models now.”
The total size of the Atlantic-Scandinavian herring catch is set according to the advice of scientists to ensure the stock’s sustainability. The existing agreement, which had held since 2007, was set by a group of countries called the Coastal States: the European Union, Russia, Norway, Iceland and the Faroes. The agreement gives Norway the largest quota, at over 60 percent. Iceland has 14.5 percent; Russia, 12 percent; and the European Union, 6.5 percent.
But the Faroese have long claimed that their quota — just over 5 percent — is too low, especially considering that the fish are abundant in their fishing grounds and relatively scarce in European Union waters. With the other Coastal States unwilling to change their quotas, the Faroes in January said they were unilaterally tripling the size of their quota. Conservationists worry that the dispute will lead to a free-for-all on the seas and endanger the fish stock.