The temporary agreement only gives Danish fisheries a respite from problems says Svend-Erik Andersen
The Danish Fisheries Association says that the temporary 2021 fishing opportunities agreed this week by the AGRIFISH Council gives Danish fishers respite but does not solve their problems.
EU fisheries ministers have just reached an agreement on fishing quotas in the North Sea, Kattegat and Skagerrak. The agreement was reached while negotiations between the EU and the UK are still under way on future cooperation after Brexit. Due to the great uncertainty created by Brexit, the quota agreement only applies for the first three months of 2021.
The short duration of the agreement means that the uncertainty continues for the Danish fishermen who do not know what the coming year will offer. Will they have access to British and Norwegian waters? Does the EU issue quotas to the UK? The uncertainty is great, and therefore there is still good reason for concern about Danish fishing and the many people employed in the fishing industry.
“Let me be clear. In fisheries, we first and foremost need an agreement on the terms of Brexit, which ensures Danish fisheries. Fisheries need clarity more than ever, and we will not get that until Brexit is in place. And we still need clarification of whether there is access to Norwegian waters after the turn of the year. The agreement today is the art of the possible, and in fishing we are happy that, after all, there is a basis for fishing in place from New Year, says Svend-Erik Andersen,” chairman of the Danish Fisheries Association.
The agreement is also the first fisheries agreement that the new Danish Minister of Fisheries, Rasmus Prehn, has entered into. The fishing industry is satisfied with the Minister’s debut and calls on the Minister to continue the work for Danish fisheries, where the overriding issue right now is to get a Brexit agreement in place.
“The work is not over yet, because the Brexit situation must be resolved, and it is more important than ever that the Danish government insists that a solution be found for the benefit of the Danish fisheries and for the many people employed in the fisheries sector and related industries, also beyond the three months,” says Svend-Erik Andersen.
With regard to the size of the quotas set, for the vast majority of species, the quotas for the first three months have been set as a quarter of the quotas from 2020. The Danish Fisheries Association is generally satisfied with this model. A significant exception, however, is that the quota for Norway lobster in the Skagerrak and Kattegat is set at a lower level than the scientific advice allows. An advice which, in the opinion of the fishing industry, is too optimistic.
“For us, it is crucial that the quotas are set in such a way that fish stocks can develop positively, and at the same time we can run a profitable fishery that contributes to growth and jobs in the fisheries sector. Therefore, I am glad that they chose to listen to the profession and have set a smaller quota for Norway lobster in the Skagerrak and Kattegat than the scientific advice allows,” says Svend-Erik Andersen.
The fact that the quotas have only been set temporarily for three months means that there is an expectation in the fisheries that work on the quotas will be resumed quickly at the beginning of the new year.
“Now it is about getting a permanent agreement for 2021 in place as soon as possible, which can hopefully form the basis for a sustainable and profitable fishery,” concludes Svend-Erik Andersen.
Danish Fisheries Minister relieved that he managed to reach a temporary agreement
Minister for Food, Agriculture and Fisheries Rasmus Prehn is relieved that he managed to reach a temporary agreement for the first quarter on the EU’s share of quotas in the North Sea and Skagerrak in 2021.
Early Thursday morning, EU fisheries ministers reached a compromise on fishing quotas for 2021 in the North Sea, Skagerrak and Kattegat. Negotiations began Tuesday morning. As there is still no agreement between the EU and the UK, the solution became a temporary agreement for the North Sea and Skagerrak for the first quarter of 2021. The starting point is that the quotas for the first quarter of 2021 are set at a level corresponding to 25% of quotas for 2020. However, there are a number of exceptions that take into account seasonal fishing and biological advice on the development of fish stocks.
“It has been difficult and long negotiations in the shadow of the Brexit negotiations. The Danish fishermen are naturally concerned about the lack of a Brexit agreement. We have found a compromise within the EU where we extend the quotas for 2020 by boards. In short, this means that fishermen can continue fishing in EU waters after 1 January, even though no Brexit agreement has yet been reached. Here I have especially fought for an appropriate quota for the species that fishermen can primarily fish in the 1st quarter. That is why I am honestly relieved,” says Rasmus Prehn.
During the negotiations, it was particularly important for Denmark to ensure a solution that creates predictability for the fishermen and creates the opportunity to catch a reasonable amount of the pelagic species that are in season for the first quarter. This includes mackerel and blue whiting.
“There is an important balancing act when we negotiate fishing quotas. We must at the same time fight for both fishing, jobs and consideration for the environment and sustainability in the sea. It is important that there is also something to fish in the future,” says Rasmus Prehn.
In addition to Brexit, a temporary EU agreement with Norway is the next important step. Access to Norwegian waters is very important for Danish fishermen. But negotiations between the EU and Norway have awaited an agreement between the EU and the UK.
“I have sent a clear signal to the Commission to scratch the surface of the agreement between the EU and Norway. There is no time to waste. Because we must ensure that Danish fishermen have access to fishing in Norwegian waters from 1 January 2021,” points out Minister of Fisheries Rasmus Prehn.
For the quotas shared with Norway and the United Kingdom, the EU has adopted a temporary solution, which means that 25% of the quota for 2020 is the quota for the first quarter of 2021. For certain stocks, however, it has been taken into account that This is a seasonal fishery, and a higher quota has thus been set for the first quarter of 2021 (cf. the table below).
|Population||Share of 2020 quota|
|Cod in the North Sea, Skagerrak and eastern English Channel||25%|
|Haddock in the North Sea, Skagerrak and west of Scotland||25%|
|Dark saithe in the North Sea, Skagerrak, Kattegat and west of Scotland||25%|
|Hake in the North Sea||25%|
|Hake in the Skagerrak and Kattegat||25%|
|Plaice in the North Sea and Skagerrak||25%|
|Tongue in the North Sea||25%|
|Herring in the North Sea, Skagerrak and Kattegat||25%|
|Sprat in the North Sea, Skagerrak and Kattegat||25%|
|Mackerel in the North Sea, Skagerrak and Kattegat||65%|
|Horse mackerel west of the British Isles||65%|
For four stocks with a Danish share of the quota, and where there is no connection with Norway and the United Kingdom, final quotas have been set for 2021 (cf. table below).
|Population||EU quota for 2021||Change compared to 2020|
|Cod in the Kattegat||123 tons||-5%|
|Lobster in the Skagerrak / Kattegat||12,360 tons||-10%|
|Plaice in the Kattegat||414 tons||-64%|
|Tongue in the Skagerrak and Kattegat||596 tons||+ 12%|