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28-01-2013 | Statement regarding joint management of Norwegian Spring-Spawning (Atlanto-Scandian) herring

Statement regarding joint management of Norwegian Spring-Spawning (Atlanto-Scandian) herring
The Minister of Fisheries of the Faroe Islands has issued the following statement on the joint management of Norwegian Spring-Spawning (Atlanto-Scandian) herring in the Northeast Atlantic after the unwillingness of other coastal states to take account of Faroese concerns about allocation.
The sharing arrangement on Norwegian Spring-Spawning (Atlanto-Scandian) herring, which the EU, Iceland, Norway and Russia have recently concluded for 2013, without the participation of the Faroe Islands, is based on historical fisheries and does not reflect the distribution of the stock in the Northeast Atlantic. In particular, given the obvious changes in the distribution of the herring stock in recent years, and the fact that the relative shares between the coastal states have never been satisfactory, the Faroe Islands can no longer accept a sharing arrangement that allocates the Faroe Islands a mere 5% of the total allowable catch.
During the last decade, there have been major changes in the distribution of herring in the Northeast Atlantic. The distribution of herring has shifted in a south-westerly direction, leading to an increased proportion of herring feeding in Faroese waters during the summer. Herring has also been observed to feed in Faroese waters for a longer period than previously. Prolonged fishery in the Faroese zone has been reported for several years, and these last years, herring has been fished in Faroese waters from May to late November. The abundance of herring in Faroese waters has made fishing for other pelagic species increasingly difficult due to unavoidable by-catches of herring.
Survey and fishery data clearly indicate that the summer distribution and duration of herring abundance in Faroese waters is higher that seen in neighbouring waters. However, the 5% Faroese share of the herring stock is significantly smaller than any other coastal state.
The desire of the Faroe Islands to renegotiate the allocation of this stock has been made clear to the other Parties at negotiations in October 2011 and was most recently reiterated at the coastal states negotiations in October and December 2012 and again in London on 23 January 2013. The Faroe Islands therefore deeply regret that the other coastal States have not been willing to consider the Faroese position, but rather have chosen to exclude the Faroe Islands from an arrangement for 2013.
The time has come to adapt joint herring management to better reflect the realities of the fisheries and legitimate rights of all coastal states, thus providing a more equitable allocation between all the parties. To ensure the long-term sustainability of the herring in the Northeast Atlantic, it is our joint responsibility to also ensure a fully agreed arrangement between all coastal states for the management of this valuable shared fisheries resource
The pelagic fish stocks shared by coastal states in the Northeast Atlantic are the foundation for fisheries that have vital importance for fisheries sectors and many fishing communities in the region. For the Faroes Islands, pelagic and ground fish fisheries are the very basis of our economy, much more so than in any other Northeast Atlantic fishing nation. 
Our challenge  as responsible fisheries managers is to recognize the obvious changes that have taken place in the marine ecosystems in the Northeast Atlantic region by modernizing and adapting our joint management to better fit the realities of, and requirements for sustainable fisheries on which we so depend. The Faroe Islands urge our partners in the region to engage with us in a meaningful and forward-looking discussion on how we can best address these challenges and find sustainable solutions for the future of our long-standing cooperation.
Recognizing that other Parties have set their herring quotas for 2013 the Faroe Islands will in the near future be setting a catch limit for herring in waters under Faroese maritime jurisdiction in 2013 in order to ensure that the fisheries operate within a responsible framework for management and control.
For further information, contact Mr Andras Kristiansen, Tel. + 298 55 32 41; E-mail: andras.kristiansen@fisk.fo or Mr Herluf Sigvaldsson, Tel. +298 55 32 49; E-mail: herluf.sigvaldsson@fisk.fo