Emphasis on sustainability in fisheries, cooperation and negotiations (04/07/2012)
Maria Damanaki, Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, says that the EU’s Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) reform process does not stand in the way of opening the chapter on fisheries in the accession negotiations between Iceland and the EU. She calls for cooperation and negotiations on common fish stocks as soon as possible.
Commissioner Maria Damanaki was in Iceland recently for the North Atlantic Fisheries Ministers' Conference. She called a press conference on Tuesday, 3 July, to review the current state of affairs on the occasion of the EU’s new Arctic policy.
At the beginning of the press conference, Damanaki said that the North Atlantic was an important area, and that both Iceland and the EU share the same goals in terms of sustainable fisheries. Sustainability was the key theme in the CFP’s reform, and she expects the new CFP to ensure sustainability of stocks, cooperation, and negotiations with neighbouring states on the arrangement of fisheries. It is important to meet with ministers from the other countries of the North-Atlantic to discuss the issues and find common solutions. Cooperation is the first rule of the EU; the Union does not accept unilateral actions, and therefore wants to ensure that all parties sit down at the negotiation table.
When asked when the chapter on fisheries could be opened in the accession negotiations between Iceland and the EU, Damanaki answered that the EU welcomed Iceland’s accession application, and that the CFP’s reform was not delaying the opening of the fisheries chapter. She hopes that the chapter will be opened soon, but iterated that there were different opinions on the issue within the Council. Damanaki said it was imperative to reach an agreement on the mackerel issue. Time is of the essence as the mackerel stock is being damaged, but she believes it possible to reach an agreement. All parties must understand each other, and Damanaki believes that an agreement can be reached with the Icelanders, as with so many other nations in this matter.