Norway and Russia have reached a fisheries agreement for 2023 for the Barents Sea
Through digital negotiations, Norway and Russia have agreed on a fisheries agreement for 2023, the most important and largest bilateral fisheries agreement Norway is involved with.
“It is good that we have entered into a fisheries agreement with Russia, despite the fact that we are in an extraordinary situation. The agreement ensures marine management in the northern areas that is both long-term and sustainable, and in this way we take care of the world’s largest cod stock and the other species in the Barents Sea,” says Fisheries and Oceans Minister Bjørnar Skjæran.
The total quota for north-east arctic cod for 2023 was set at 566,784 tonnes, in line with the management rule. This means a decrease of 20 per cent from this year’s quota.
The total quota of cod is distributed between Norway, Russia and third countries according to the same pattern as in previous years. Norway’s quota for 2023 will be 260,782 tonnes.
The total quota for haddock is set at 170,067 tonnes for 2023, in line with the management rule. Norway’s quota for 2023 will be 84,177 tonnes.
It was decided to open for capelin fishing in 2023 within a total quota of 62,000 tonnes, in line with the management rule. The Norwegian share amounts to 37,150 tonnes.
The total quota for blue halibut in 2023 is set at 25,000 tonnes. Norway’s quota will be 12,735 tonnes.
A total quota for Atlantic Redfish has been set at 66,779 tonnes for 2023. This is a decrease of 431 tonnes from 2022. Norway’s quota will be 46,081 tonnes.
Norway is reducing the transfer of pollock to Russia for fishing in Norway’s economic zone by 605 tonnes for 2023, at the same time the transfer of blue halibut from Russia to Norway was reduced by 240 tonnes for 2023.
The parties also agree to continue work on a management plan for prawns.
The fisheries agreement also contains technical regulations for the practice of fishing, control measures and research collaboration. There is a long-standing and extensive research collaboration between Norway and Russia on living marine resources and the ecosystem in the Barents Sea, and the parties agreed on a joint Norwegian-Russian research program for 2023.
Bilateral working group
Russian scientists have been temporarily suspended from the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea ICES. The quota recommendations for 2023 for the stocks we manage together with Russia have therefore been drawn up this year in a bilateral working group between the Institute of Marine Research and the Russian research institute VNIRO. This applies to the stocks of north-east arctic cod, north-east arctic haddock, capelin and capelin. The working group has followed the ICES methodology and framework for stock assessment and advice. The halibut quota advice is a two-year advice given by ICES in 2021 for 2022 and 2023.
Norway stands up for the sanctions against Russia and controls that the sanctions regulations are complied with, while at the same time we advocate for sustainable fisheries management. The Russian side has announced that the fisheries agreement for 2023 may be suspended if further tightening is introduced in the restrictions Norway has introduced for Russian fishing vessels calling at Norwegian ports.
Fiskebåt welcomed what they called a positive agreement but were disappointed with the allocation of capelin quota, but over were not surprised by the results of the negotiations.
“The agreement concluded was in line with expectations, and that it is positive that an agreement has been reached,” says assistant director of Fiskebåt Jan Ivar Maråk. “The industry must be prepared for some more difficult years when it comes to cod quotas. At the same time, we are disappointed with the capelin quota, and believe that it will be necessary to carry out a spawning trip in the winter to ensure the quality of the quota council and quota determination. We will come back to this.”
The Norwegian Fishermen’s Association is satisfied that a fisheries agreement has been concluded between Norway and Russia for 2023. This is important to ensure sustainable management, says Kåre Heggebø, head of the Norwegian Fishermen’s Association.
“There is a significant reduction in the quota for cod, while the haddock quota will also be slightly lower until next year. Quota determination is based on the management rules that have been agreed, and we hope that the decline we are now seeing will be short-lived,” says Heggebø.
“We are a little disappointed with the capelin quota, which we had hoped would be higher. We still have to comply with the advice from the marine scientists, but we believe it is crucial that good and complete voyage coverage of capelin is ensured until next year,” concluded Kåre Heggebø.