The Netherlands is fed up of what they claim is overfishing of mackerel by Norwegian, Icelandic and Faroese fishermen. In order to hit the supplier countries as hard as possible, the Dutch government is considering sanctions, including stopping imports of farmed salmon from the three countries.
Not very realistic
“There are others among us who know the mackerel conflict better than I do, but to believe firstly that it is realistic to have support in the Netherlands and secondly to get the [EU] Commission on board on sanctions against salmon – we think that is not very realistic. This is sabre rattling, simply, to get a solution to the conflict.”
This is what Seafood Norway’s Deputy CEO Trond Davidsen told SalmonBusiness.
He considers it quite unlikely that the Dutch will join other EU countries in a trade dispute due to disagreements over fishing for mackerel.
“Then one can ask on what legal basis one should implement this on? We are talking about civilized nations, even if there is disagreement in the mackerel management,” Davidsen pointed out.
Affects own processing industry
“No, I do not think the Norwegian, Faroese or Icelandic salmon players will be losing sleep. There is another issue that one must find a solution to. But that is another discussion.”
In the same way as it did in the years-long disputes with the EU over market access for Norwegian salmon, the Netherlands’ own processing industry, which has a common interest with the producer countries, can be a good ally in this matter.
“I note that the Minister is concerned that the processing industry for salmon in the Netherlands is important,” said Davidsen, adding that he believes this can be crucial.
“I can’t weigh the relative importance of salmon vs pelagic fish in the Netherlands. They have a lot of herring, but I do not know how much mackerel they have.”
SalmonBusiness has on Friday morning been in contact with several Dutch salmon processors. These have so far not wished to comment on the ongoing dispute.