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Issue No:57
  • :0973–1121
  • :November
  • :2010
  • :English

Then the fish came alive, with his death in him, and rose high out of the water showing all his great length and width and all his power and his beauty. He seemed to hang in the air above the old man in the skiff. Then he fell into the water with a crash that sent spray over the old man and over all of the skiff.

—from The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest  Hemingway

European Union : FISH WARS

Mackerel Mayhem

The ongoing dispute in northern Europe over the boom in mackerel stocks and their transboundary migration has implications for the future of the fishery

This article is by Quentin Bates (, Technical Editor at Fishing News International, published by IntraFish Media

How should fisheries management respond when stocks fluctuate unexpectedly upwards and fish migrate across boundaries? What are the rights of coastal States when they receive such an unexpected bonanza? What steps must be taken to ensure that the rights of existing operators are respected, that there is a fair allocation of access to fisheries resources, and that responsible fishing prevails?

These bothersome questions comprise the conundrum currently facing scientists, fishery managers and politicians in northern Europe over mackerel stocks that recently boomed and migrated into Icelandic waters and other areas in vast numbers.

In August this year, newspaper headlines proclaimed a fish war over mackerel in northern Europe. This followed Iceland’s gatecrashing entry into the mackerel fishery and the angry response it provoked amongst European Union (EU) and Norwegian operators and politicians.

A meeting held in London at the end of...



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