Brussels, 3 March 1995
Mrs. Emma BONINO, European Commissioner responsible for Fisheries, expresses her surprise and regret at the tone of the statement published on Thursday in Ottawa by the Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister, André OUELLET, on the subject of the European objection to the allocation of Greenland halibut decided by NAFO (Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization) at the beginning of February.
"The approach of the Canadian government is unhelpful because it is fuelling a war of words which should be avoided in the interest of wider bilateral relations", she says, "moreover, we find it astonishing that Mr. Ouellet is now threatening unilateral measures against the European Union, measures that we consider unacceptable, as any such action would be in breach of International law".
The European Union, adds Mrs. BONINO, "has legitimately objected to the recent NAFO decision on the allocation of the Greenland halibut in conformity with the terms and the procedures foreseen by the NAFO Convention. The NAFO decision was not in line with the procedures by which NAFO has traditionally approached such questions and it failed to respect the historic catches by NAFO members".
The Commissioner underlines that, as pointed out in Minister Ouellet's declaration, the global TAC (Total Allowable Catch) of 27.000 tonnes fixed for 1995 represents a major step towards conservation of stocks, compared to a much higher record of catches realised in 1994, primarily by the EU fleet. By agreeing to the 27.000 tonnes limit, the Union has therefore accepted to carry most of the burden of ensuring a rational management of resources in the NAFO aerea.