ICELAND has reached agreement with the Faroe Islands over reciprocal fishing rights. A dispute flared up a month ago when Reykjavik unexpectedly banned all Faroese vessels from fishing inside its territorial waters after the two countries failed to strike a deal.
A number of problems arose over mutual herring rights during talks shortly before Christmas.
The Faroese were also demanding higher bottom fish quotas and the lifting of restrictions on the human consumption of capelin.
The Faroese government then threatened to halt Icelandic vessels from fishing for blue whiting in its waters unless its demands were met.
But in a complex deal reached this week the two neighbouring fishing countries have agreed to mutual access to blue whiting and Norwegian-Icelandic herring, similar to the 2017 agreement.
In return the Faroese will be allowed to catch five per cent of Iceland’s capelin quota to a maximum of 25,000 tonnes and their cod quota remains the same as last year at around 2,400 tonnes.
There are other concessions, including allowing Iceland to fish for 1,000 tonnes of mackerel in Faroese waters.
The two countries have also agreed to start work earlier on the 2019 agreement, hoping it can be reached by September in order to avoid a repeat of this year’s short lived dispute.
Iceland’s fisheries minister, Þór Júlíusson, said he always wanted to maintain the special relationship between Reykjavik and Torshavn, but insisted any agreement must be based on fairness. Iceland has also exchanged deals with Norway and Greenland.