Danish fishermen are being kept hostage because the Norwegians and British won’t come to an agreement
Although Norway, the EU and the UK are far in the quota negotiations, Norway will not sign and grant access and this is keeping Danish fishermen hostage claims their fish producers organisation.
The problem the Danish Fishermen’s Association says lies between the UK and Norway.
Since the turn of the year, Danish fishermen have been waiting for the final quotas for 2021 and – not least – the important access to Norwegian waters. Patience is running out, but the frustrations will probably not diminish on top of the latest message from the Norwegians.
Although the negotiations are long, Norway is not willing to sign a quota agreement and give access to the Norwegian zone in the Skagerrak and the North Sea.
“The Danish fishermen have been taken hostage, and this has particular consequences in North and West Jutland, where people make a living from the profession. It is simply not fair that Norway puts itself on the heels of the EU and Danish fishermen when the conflict is between Norway and Great Britain,” says Svend-Erik Andersen, chairman of the Danish Fisheries Association.
Norwegian Minister of Fisheries on his hind legs
Quota negotiations between the EU, Norway and the United Kingdom on the common stocks are otherwise very long. Among other things. an agreement on the Skagerrak just lacks signatures, but the Norwegians will not sign anything until they have more certainty about the bilateral agreements, ie. the negotiations that take place in parallel between Norway and the EU and Norway and the United Kingdom, respectively, where quota exchange and access are negotiated.
Negotiations are underway between the EU and Norway, but Norway-Great Britain is waiting.
“Negotiations with the UK in particular have fallen short,” says Minister of Fisheries Odd Emil Ingebrigtsen in a press release from the Norwegian government:
“It is necessary that negotiations continue further before we possibly sign the tripartite agreement with the EU and the United Kingdom on quotas for common stocks in the North Sea. Norway has therefore made it clear to the UK and the EU that we will only sign the Tripartite Agreement on total quotas for the common stocks in the North Sea when the negotiations on the bilateral agreements provide a clearer picture of the mutual conditions for access to fishing in each other’s zones and quota exchanges.”
The EU is left with the monkey
As I said, bilateral negotiations between the EU and Norway are already under way. It is therefore the negotiations between Norway and the United Kingdom that present challenges.
“This makes the situation extremely frustrating, because basically there is nothing that we or the EU can put up. We are with the monkey,” says Svend-Erik Andersen, who has also contacted the Norwegian Fishermen’s Association, because they should also have an interest in getting an agreement in place.
“We hope that Norwegian fisheries will also make an effort to get the fisheries agreements in place. In Danish fishing, we are very tired of being taken hostage in a game over which we have no influence. I think Norway is forgetting who Norway’s friends in the EU are – and who is most in trouble with the current situation. It benefits no one,” says the chairman.