The Norwegian Pelagic Association wants the government to allow their deep-sea-fleet fish mackerel in the fjords normally closed to them
The consequences of failing to reach a bilateral agreement on fisheries access with the United Kingdom will mean the Norwegian fishing industry will lose access to the valuable mackerel fisheries in Scottish waters, but it will also happen that Norway will have access to unused third country quota.
The Norwegian Pelagic Association has called on the government to lift the restrictions on the deep-sea-fleet from operating within the fjord lines.
The Association says, “As is well known, Norwegian fishing boats have had zone access to fish for mackerel in the EU’s zone. This is included in what after Brexit is the UK’s zone. Norwegian fishermen have had such zone access for a number of years. In the last three years, over 90% of the Norwegian mackerel quota has been fished in what is now the UK’s zone.
“When no agreement has been entered into with the UK this year, this will most likely lead to Norwegian fishermen having great difficulty in fishing their quotas. This is because fishermen, in contrast to previous years, do not have the right to fish in the UK’s fishing zone.
“In order to reduce the risk that Norwegian fishermen will not be allowed to fish their mackerel quotas, the Pelagic Association requests that purse seine vessels, coastal seiners and SUK vessels over 28 metres be allowed to fish for mackerel within the fjord lines.”
Rumours have been circulating that the Norwegian Government intends to start setting its own quota for mackerel outside of the Coastal States Council, in the same way that Iceland has done for the past number of years.
The Pelagic Association has also been calling for the redistribution of unused third country quota which they believe should be returned to national quota.
They say, “The following consultation response has been sent in connection with the distribution of a third country quota of cod.
“The Pelagic Association believes that all unused third country quota should be returned to the national quota. This is so that this quantity will not be unfished but will benefit the industry and the districts.
“Distribution should take place according to the current distribution keys.
“At the same time, the Pelagic Association understands the situation of vessels / crews that have lost significant parts of their operating basis as a result of a lack of agreement with the UK. The Pelagic Association therefore does not have a strong objection to a quantity of up to 5,000 tonnes being set aside for compensatory measures.
“If a quantity is set aside for compensatory measures, the Pelagic Association believes that such a quantity must be distributed to all groups that have lost a quantity as a result of a missing agreement.
“A redistribution should take place as soon as possible.
“The Pelagic Association believes that it is important that the regulations are such that Norway can fish the entire quota. It is therefore important that distribution takes place to groups that have a real opportunity to fish larger quantities.
“It is also important that the directorate feels the situation closely and redistributes when the directorate may see that fleet groups cannot manage to fish quantities that cannot be transferred to 2022.”