Irish fishing industry powerless powerless in Norwegian blue whiting bid because Ireland is not in the negotiating seat says fisheries consultant

Irish fishing industry powerless powerless in Norwegian blue whiting bid because Ireland is not in the negotiating seat says fisheries consultant

The Irish fishing industry is literally powerless on getting concessions from Norway over access to its waters to fish blue whiting because Ireland is not in the negotiating seat.

This is the warning from Norway-based fisheries consultant Ian Kinsey.

Ian warns that the Irish fishing representatives that any deal made with the Norwegians will have to include all the EU coastal states. He says the issue for Ireland is that some other EU member states are looking for additional cod quota in the Norwegian EEZ of the Barents Sea, and if the Norwegians are to grant this they will push for access to blue Whiting and the Irish waters.

BIM and RNLI man overboard training Donegal in January 2023

This means that any deal in European Commission will make with Norway over access to be Irish EEZ to fish a blue whiting quota of 80,000 tonnes will have to involve the other EU member states, which could mean come out any quota they would give in concession would be divided throughout the other EU coastal states which fish blue whiting.

Ian says, “There’s always been some form agreement all through the years between the EU and Norway for the EU to continue its traditional cod fish in the Barents Sea. The EU swaps blue whiting with Norway to maintain that agreement and I think it’s a case of now the EU wants more cod from the Barents Sea.”

Arctic cod is an important fishery especially for Spanish-registered vessel. In 2021, the EU and Norway came to diplomatic blows over the EU cod quota the EU unilaterally set for the Svalbard Zone. In March this year, both sides agreed a quota of 4,500 tonnes, with 2,220 tonnes distributed to Spain, 923 tonnes to Germany, 463 tonnes to Portugal, 419 tonnes to Poland and 407 tonnes to France. It was the EU at the negotiating table, not any of the Member States that received quota. The only thing Irish government representatives can do is call on the EU Commission not to allow Norway further access to Irish waters, but ultimately, it is the EU that makes the decision. Ireland is powerless to stop them.

“It’s the EU that negotiates with Norway. Norway doesn’t negotiate with Ireland no it doesn’t so it’s diplomatically impossible for Norway to give Ireland any concession.”

Ian takes issue with the Irish fishing representatives saying that Norway is looking for unfettered access to the Irish box. He says when you look up unfettered in the dictionary, it basically means free access, but he says that is not the case:

“Norway will be giving the EU something in return for that access to fish blue whiting, even though Irish fishing will not benefit from it, other EU fleets will.”

He says that the Irish need to use the situation to their advantage by demanding other ground fish stocks as compensation and insisting that all the blue whiting caught by the Norwegians would have to be landed into Ireland and processed in Irish factories.

He says, “I think the focus for the Irish really needs to be ‘what can they get from the EU to compensate for the Norwegian access’. The best thing for the Irish fleet is more ground fish. If the Spanish want more cod up in the Barents Sea, then they’re the ones that that have got to transfer to other fish to Ireland.”

He continued, “When the blue whiting is in Irish waters, they are in prime condition you know for processing for human consumption. It’s gonna end with the EU eventually swapping blue whiting with Norway. The blue whiting that is fished in the Irish box should be landing in Irish factories and that would be a benefit for everybody because the fish is in its best condition therefore maximizing the economic potential of blue whiting for all parties.”

by Oliver McBride

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Irish fishing industry powerless in Norwegian blue whiting bid

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