Fish stocks which migrate amongst, or are found in, the waters of several coastal states, or in international waters, require joint management to prevent over–fishing and to share fishing possibilities.
However, international disputes have arisen over the fishing of some North-East Atlantic (NEA) stocks. Having withdrawn from earlier agreed international arrangements with the EU and Norway on the management of the NEA mackerel stock, Iceland and the Faroe Islands have, for several years, unilaterally set their own fishing quotas and greatly increased their fishing of this stock. In 2013, the Faroe Islands took a similar stance for Atlanto-Scandian herring, unilaterally setting increased fishing quotas for their vessels.
In October 2012, the European Parliament and the Council adopted a Regulation whereby the European Commission may take restrictive measures against a country allowing non-sustainable fishing. On this basis, the Commission imposed trade sanctions against the Faroes with regard to the Atlanto-Scandian herring stock. However, no such measures have yet been taken against Iceland or the Faroe Islands in respect of their position on the fishing of mackerel stock.