Iceland’s application to join the European Union is being threatened by new quotas involving Iceland’s largest industry, the fishing industry. The new fish that is booming the industry in Iceland is the mackerel, and Ireland, Norway, and other European members are debating over how much mackerel Iceland should be able to fish. Scientists believe that mackerel are migrating to Icelandic waters in greater numbers, and since fishing accounts for forty percent of Iceland’s exports, the mackerel are now a vital part of Iceland’s economy. These fish led to the rebound from the crisis Iceland was going through, and if the stock allowed is increased, they will be able to lift the economy further.

Of the total allowable catch of mackerel, the European Union and Norway claim ninety percent, leaving Russia, Iceland and the Faroe Islands with just ten percent. Even with this Iceland decides its share usually at about sixteen percent.  The International Council for the Exploration of the Sea recommends a total number of mackerel to be caught in order to keep the stock from becoming unsustainable. Iceland argues that with the new migration pattern, there needs to be a larger share for Russia, Iceland and the Faroe Islands. With all of the disagreements between the European Union and Iceland, it is unsure whether or not they will be able to become a European Union member.

In order to gain membership to the European Union, a country must abide by certain accession criteria. They must have political stability, economic stability and potential, and they must assume the obligations that all members must follow the policies of the European Union. Once it meets the accession criteria, then negotiations will take place based on the characteristics and situation of the country. If Iceland isn’t able to use the mackerel the way they would like to in order to fuel their economy, it will be difficult for them to gain admission into the European Union. However, the booming fishing export industry could be Iceland’s ticket in. Do you think that Iceland deserves more than the ten percent of the mackerel stock they are given?

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