Danish fishermen are looking forward to larger fishing quotas in 2023 says the Danish Fisheries Association, Chief Svend-Erik Andersen. Photo: DFPO
After a two-day meeting in Brussels, the EU’s fisheries ministers have reached an agreement on the fishing quotas in the North Sea, Skagerrak and Kattegat.
It is an agreement that confirms that fish stocks in the North Sea, Skagerrak and Kattegat are generally developing positively.
This means that Danish fishermen will have the opportunity to catch significantly more fish next year, and this creates excitement in the Danish Fisheries Association.
“It is a really positive thing that the biologists consider that there is scope to raise the fishing quotas without compromising on sustainability. And it is positive that in the Council of Ministers, Food Minister Rasmus Prehn and his colleagues have been willing to follow the advice. We have worked for this for several years, and I am sure that it will provide a much-needed boost to fishing and to the local areas where fishing plays a major role,” says Svend-Erik Andersen, chairman of the Danish Fisheries Association.
Greater cod quota
The decision in Brussels implements i.e. the bilateral fisheries agreement between the EU and Great Britain for 2023 and the agreement between the EU, Great Britain and Norway on quotas for a number of important shared stocks.
One of the most important results from the negotiations is that the cod quota in the North Sea and Skagerrak is increased by 63%. This is done following advice from the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES).
“I am particularly pleased that we are now getting a significantly larger quota for cod. In recent years, it has been clear to the fishing industry that there are more cod in the sea than the scientific advice said. It is really positive that the biologists now also share that assessment,” says Svend-Erik Andersen, chairman of the Danish Fisheries Association.
The haddock quota is increased
The Danish fishermen can also look forward to catching more haddock in 2023. However, not as many as the biologists from ICES have recommended. They gave room in their recommendation for a quota increase of 160%. It has ended with an increase of 30%.
It is initially pleasing, but it can cause problems when there are more fish in the water than the quotas dictate.
“We see a lot of haddock, and we had hoped that they would follow the recommendations from ICES and raise the quota significantly. That in itself would have benefited the economy of fishing. Now we stand with an increase of 30%, and although it is positive that the quota is increasing, we may therefore end up in a situation where the haddock quota quickly runs out. And because you also catch haddock in other fisheries, it can in principle stop fishing, and I am concerned about that,” says Svend-Erik Andersen.
In addition, the Danish fishermen can be pleased that the quotas for several other stocks are being raised, for example for whiting, hake and whiting, where the development is positive.
And even though there are also reductions for some species, and also in 2023, for certain species, smaller quantities of quotas must be transferred to Great Britain as a result of the Brexit agreement, the decision all in all arouses optimism.
“There is no doubt that fishing has been through some tough years with Brexit, corona and rising energy prices. That is why it is gratifying to have good news, which provides some much-needed optimism in the Danish ports. Stocks are doing well and quotas are increasing. It is definitely positive,” says Svend-Erik Andersen.
Norway causes problems
The Ministry of Food’s employees, together with their colleagues in the other EU countries, have worked hard over the past few months to get the negotiations in place.
Although many of the fishing opportunities for 2023 are now in place, unfortunately there are still outstanding ones, as an agreement between the EU and Norway for 2023 has not yet been concluded, which ensures that EU fishermen have access to Norwegian waters.
This causes concern in the Danish Fisheries Association, which calls for everything to be done to reach an agreement before the turn of the year.
“It is really important that the Danish fishermen get access to Norwegian waters as soon as possible in e.g. North Sea and Skagerrak. For many fishermen, it is a prerequisite for their fishing. Therefore, an agreement must be in place as soon as possible. It is regrettable that the EU and Norway seem to have difficulty finding each other and reaching an agreement to the benefit of both parties,” says Svend-Erik Andersen.