Norway will not close Russian fishing vessels out of their EEZ and will still be allow fishing and landing of catches in Norwegian ports, says Fisheries Minister
Norwegian Minister of Fisheries and Maritime Affairs Bjørnar Skjæran is aware that the Russians will still be allowed to fish in the Norwegian zone and land the fish in Norwegian ports.
On Monday, the Minister of Fisheries met with representatives from the Norwegian seafood industry to discuss the consequences of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine for the seafood industry and the maritime industry.
The meeting, which took place by video, addressed the consequences of trade and cooperation with Ukraine, as well as sanctions against Belarus and Russia and Norway’s fisheries cooperation with the Russians.
After the meeting, the Minister said that it is absolutely fundamental for Norwegian interests to take care of fisheries cooperation.
“This is one of the areas that will continue to be maintained, together with the fisheries research collaboration. It is not relevant to close Russian fishing vessels out of the Norwegian economic zone. Mutual zone access for Norwegian and Russian vessels in each other’s economic zones follows from our obligations under the framework agreement on fisheries cooperation and the annual fisheries agreement with Russia,” says Skjæran. “There is no right in the agreements to make changes in this, an exclusion from NØS will violate our obligations in the agreements. There is also no authority in the fisheries regulations to prohibit landings from Russian fishing vessels on the basis of foreign policy considerations.”
Skjæran writes that Norway’s line has been to cooperate with the EU and NATO, and to support the EU’s restrictive measures against Russia.
“We are now in the process of introducing a historically large package of measures. From the Norwegian side, we have suspended all bilateral cooperation with the Russian authorities, with some exceptions such as the operational cooperation on search and rescue, the Coast and Border Guard’s operational communication with Russian counterparts and the Norwegian-Russian fisheries cooperation that we have had through more than 50 years,” writes Skjæran.
The Minister confirms what Fiskeribladet mentioned last week, that the EU is considering sanctions that affect Russian vessels’ calls at EU ports – and that similar assessments are made in Norway.
“We do not adopt unilateral Norwegian sanctions, and we will see our assessments in connection with fisheries cooperation. Even though we are in a difficult situation now, we still share the Barents Sea with Russia, and we will not have proper management of fish stocks without cooperation. I want to emphasize that Norway’s reactions are directed at the Russian authorities and the Russian regime. The Russian people as such are not to blame for what is happening now, and we are not looking to react against fellow human beings in our neighbouring country,” Skjæran writes in the email.