NORWEGIAN fishermen are claiming that the ongoing mackerel dispute with Iceland and the Faroe Islands is costing them a lot of money.
They put this down to the large quotas Iceland and the Faroe Islands (145,000 and 150,000 tons respectively) have unilaterally given themselves which, they say, has led to a substantial loss of revenue over the past 12 months.
Norway has allied itself to the side of the European Union in this two-and-a-half-year-old dispute, but it has taken a much stronger line than some EU member states. Norwegian fishing chiefs and some government ministers have virtually accused Iceland and the Faroes of fishing piracy and are strongly backing sanctions against fish exports from these two countries.
The Oslo Government, however, is treading a more diplomatic path and is waiting to see what comes out of Brussels before taking any unilateral action.
The broadside about loss of revenue has come from Geir Lundberg in her opening address at the annual meeting of the North Norwegian Shipowners’ Association.
She said that large quantities of cheap fish (from Iceland and the Faroes) were getting on to the market which had clearly affected prices and this was creating uncertainty among buyers. She described it as a disturbing factor in the market, adding that she hoped Iceland and the Faroes would soon realise the consequences of their actions. But in a conciliatory note she hoped for a better climate of peace and harmony between all concerned in the dispute, so everyone would eventually benefit.
Geir Lundberg said she was also pleased that the Oslo Government and the Ministry of Fisheries had been so steadfast in their support of Norwegian fishermen.
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