Fish and seafood management was the subject of the conversation between Norwegian Fisheries Minister Odd Emil Ingebrigtsen and his British colleague Victoria Prentis on Friday 15 May.
“We discussed matters of great importance. Both how the negotiation process for joint fish stocks between Norway and the UK is set up in 2020, and the ambitions and positions for the new cooperation in fisheries management and for seafood trade,” says Fisheries and Seafood Minister Odd Emil Ingebrigtsen on the ministry’s website.
Friday’s fisheries agreement with the EU consists of the management of common stocks in the North Sea, on mutual zone access for fishing of different fish species and on quota exchange. The value of this agreement is around NOK 8 billion (£650.3 million).
The UK’s economic zone borders, inter alia, on Norway in the North Sea. We thus go from two to three parties in the North Sea, and both the UK, Norway and the EU must manage a number of fish stocks together. The UK will also become a key partner in mackerel and hake management.
“It is obviously important to have a new framework agreement between Norway, the EU and the United Kingdom on the North Sea management. There are also a number of bilateral issues such as quota change and continued access to fishing in each other’s zones that need to be clarified with the UK,” says Ingebrigtsen.
During the transitional period lasting the year, Norwegian seafood can be exported on the same terms as before Brexit. After the transition period, the UK becomes a third country, so a new framework for trade between the UK and Norway is needed. That is, a new, long-term trade regime, so that Norwegian exporters should have as good market access to the UK market as possible, must be in place from 1 January next year.
“The UK is one of the largest export markets for Norwegian seafood. Norway, together with our EEA EFTA partners Iceland and Liechtenstein, is ready to start negotiations on a trade agreement as soon as possible, and as in all trade agreement negotiations, the goal is full free trade for seafood,” says the Minister of Fisheries and Seafood.
In the first four months of 2020, Norwegian seafood was exported to the UK for NOK 2.3 billion (£187 million), up 2 per cent from the same period in 2019. The UK is our fifth most important market in terms of value and our third most important market in terms of volume. Last year 160,000 tonnes of Norwegian seafood was exported to the UK, worth NOK 6.4 billion (£512 million). Among other things, the country is an important market for Norwegian cod and haddock.
On Friday DEFRA UK tweeted “Productive call held today with Norwegian Fisheries Minister Odd Emil Ingebrigtsen. @VictoriaPrentis welcomed the two countries’ close cooperation on fisheries and looked forward to advancing collaboration on fishing opportunities & sustainable fisheries management.”