The Norwegian Minister of Fisheries and Marine Affairs Bjørnar Skjæran has today set a mackerel quota of 278,222 tonnes.
This represents a decrease of around 7 percent compared to last year. This year’s total quota corresponds to the recommended total catch and is 794,920 tonnes.
“It is unfortunate that the coastal states have not yet agreed on an agreement on the distribution of the mackerel stock,” says Minister of Fisheries and Marine Affairs Bjørnar Skjæran.
However, negotiations between Norway, the United Kingdom, the EU, the Faroe Islands, Iceland and Greenland on a new distribution key will continue in full until the autumn, with a view to reaching a solution for 2023 and beyond.
“In the absence of a coastal state agreement, I have set a national quota for 2022 which corresponds to 35 percent of the recommended total catch. This quota is based on assessments of the mackerel’s real zone affiliation to the waters under Norwegian jurisdiction – that is, how much of the mackerel resides in Norwegian waters,” says Skjæran.
In recent years, mackerel has shown a clear northeasterly shift in its distribution, which means that more mackerel is now in Norwegian waters compared with 2014 when the previous mackerel agreement was entered into.
The background for the situation now is that the EU and the UK were not interested in a continuation of the coastal state agreement for mackerel after the UK left the EU and became a new independent coastal state from 2021. This meant that the agreement was terminated. The consequence was that Norway lost the right to fish in the waters of the United Kingdom, and Norway is no longer bound by provisions on ownership interests or other provisions from the coastal state agreement that expired at the end of 2020.
“However, we must put history and old agreements behind us. All the coastal states have a common interest in arriving at a distribution solution, so that we can achieve optimal management of this important stock,” says the Minister of Fisheries and Marine Affairs.