Agreement on fishing quotas in the Kattegat, Skagerrak and North Sea for 2022 heralds’ new challenges for Danish fisheries claims DFA Chairman
On Tuesday morning, 14 December, the EU’s fisheries ministers reached an agreement on fishing quotas in the North Sea, Skagerrak and Kattegat for 2022. Minister of Fisheries, Rasmus Prehn says the agreement mainly consists of sour sweets, and that position is fully shared in the Danish Fisheries Association.
On Tuesday, Svend-Erik Andersen, chairman of the Danish Fisheries Association said, “Today’s agreement does not make things easier for the Danish fishermen. We are struggling with the aftermath of Brexit, which still inflicts great costs on Danish fisheries. That does not change this agreement. Danish fishing is challenged, and we call for close dialogue and cooperation with the fishing industry so that we can ensure that there is a future for fishing in the North Sea, Skagerrak and Kattegat.”
Major concerns for coastal fishing
With the agreement comes a tightening in relation to the eel fishery. This is viewed with great concern in the Danish Fisheries Association, as it can have major negative consequences for coastal fishing and for the small coastal fishing communities.
“The eel fishery is part of Danish cultural history. It is the basis of many of our coastal bottom seine fishermen, who have been fishing in the same gentle way for generations and for years have worked rock hard on restoring the eel stock. It is a shame if it is rinsed out with the bath water. That is why I urge the Minister to go the extra mile and continue the fight for eel fishing. We appreciate that the Minister has issued a statement in which he emphasizes the unreasonableness of Denmark having to do all the work for the eel population. Because it is unreasonable when the Danish fishermen have followed the Danish eel management plan to the letter,” says Svend-Erik Andersen.
The Brexit bill is growing
On Friday 10 December, the fisheries agreement between the EU and Norway for 2022 fell into place, and unfortunately with the result that the EU cannot get the same fishing opportunities in Norwegian waters in the North Sea, as the EU as a result of Brexit does not have as many fish to negotiate with Norway. The Danish Fishermen’s Association has set up the board, and on that basis the Danish fishermen stand to lose quota values for well over DKK 100 million/€13.5m. An extra bill as a result of Brexit. For monkfish alone, the loss in value is over DKK 90 million/€12m. This underlines the need for the Brexit reserve to come into play quickly, also for the loss from Norwegian waters as a result of Brexit.
“It is important that the Danish fishermen are compensated for all losses related to Brexit. And like soon. So, I hope the Minister will address that now that he has returned from Brussels. It will be a good Christmas present for the Danish fishermen who have been through probably the hardest year I can remember in my 12 years as chairman,” says Svend-Erik Andersen.
Mackerel war in extended playing time
In continuation of Brexit, Ireland has tried to claim 12,000 tonnes of Danish mackerel quotas. This conflict was not found to be a common ground, and the matter must now be investigated further until 30 September 2022. The Danish Fisheries Association praises Minister of Fisheries Rasmus Prehn, who has fought hard for the mackerel quota to remain in Danish hands.
“The Minister has fought for the mackerel quota, and that is good. The issue shows the frustration that Brexit has also created. The distribution of quotas between EU countries and relative stability must be defended. The mackerel is Danish, and we must of course insist on that. Therefore, the minister must continue the fight, and we hope he keeps the armour on and fights on,” says Svend-Erik Andersen.