March 13, 2014 / 10:46 AM / in 4 years

REFILE-EU reaches deal on mackerel with Norway, Faroe Islands

(Corrects to Wednesday from Tuesday in 3rd, last paragraphs)

* New management plan for NE Atlantic mackerel fishing seen

* Dispute had led EU to ban imports from Faroe Islands

* Door open for Iceland to join

LONDON, March 13 (Reuters) - The European Union has reached a deal on mackerel fishing rights in the northeast Atlantic with the Faroe Islands and Norway, ending a dispute that led the EU to ban imports from the Faroe Islands last year, the EU Commission said.

The agreement, which will run until 2018, established a commitment on sustainable fisheries and a commitment to launch a new long-term management plan for mackerel fishing this year.

“The talks were long and intensive and given the potential risk to the stock, the stakes could not have been much higher,” European Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Maria Damanaki, said in a statement released late on Wednesday.

“This agreement ensures the long-term sustainability of this valuable stock. The door is still open for Iceland to join the other parties in the near future,” she said.

Last year, EU authorities banned imports of herring and mackerel from the Faroe Islands and said they would prevent some Faroese boats from docking in EU ports.

The Commission said the Faroe Islands awarded itself a quota that more than trebled its previously agreed share of the Atlanto-Scandian herring stock.

The Faroe Islands is a self-governed territory within the Danish Realm but not part of the European Union.

Until last year, Atlanto-Scandian herring stock was managed jointly by Norway, Russia, Iceland, the Faroe Islands and the European Union.

The EU Commission said it has also reached an agreement with Norway on shared fish stocks in the North Sea.

The deal established a 5 percent increase in total allowable catches (TACs) for North Sea cod and a 15 percent rise for North Sea plaice compared to 2013.

However, the TACs for North Sea haddock, saithe and whiting have been reduced by 15 percent and the herring TAC in the same area was reduced by 2 percent.

Following both agreements reached on Wednesday, the EU quota for mackerel fishing in 2014 amounts to 611,205 tonnes. (Reporting by Nina Chestney; Editing by Susan Fenton)

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