The Norwegian fishing industry has expressed unhappiness with the UK-Norway fisheries agreement 2022
The Minister for Fisheries in Norway has expressed his satisfaction with the outcome of the UK-Norway fisheries agreement but the fishing industry itself has expressed unhappiness with the results.
Unbalanced bilateral agreement between Norway and the UK for 2022: Norwegian Pelagic Association
The bilateral fisheries agreement between Norway and the United Kingdom was signed today. Among other things, the agreement gives Norwegian fishermen access to fish 17,000 tonnes of North Sea herring in the UK zone, while British fishermen will be allowed to fish 17,000 tonnes of NVG herring in NØS. The agreement also deals with whitefish, control cooperation and exchange of data.
“The agreement is very unbalanced between pelagic fisheries and those who fish whitefish. For pelagic fishermen, the agreement is not worth much in isolation. The zone access will not provide any tremendous support for us,” says Kristian Sandtorv, chairman of the board of the Pelagic Association. “Based on an overall assessment, however, we see that it may be wise to enter into an agreement at this time. It will provide better knowledge and relationships that we can take with us in the further work, and we hope that it will strengthen the further cooperation in the years to come.
“The agreement contains a statement that an increase in access may be relevant later if conditions should be conducive to it, and we trust that in the long run this will improve the agreements for us pelagic fishermen as well,” Sandtorv says. “Furthermore, we would like to commend the negotiating team that has been on both late and early, so we bet that a foundation has been laid this year that will give us a better starting point for future agreements.
When it comes to licensing, we are now working intensively with this to get everything ready to start. Everyone who wants to fish in the UK zone must have a license and everyone must submit an electronic application form via the Directorate of Fisheries. After it has been processed by the directorate, the applications will be transferred to the UK for final processing. The vessels will then receive a response to their applications via e-mail. The Directorate of Fisheries is working on the electronic form these days, and the licenses will most likely be ready in the first week of January, according to the Directorate of Fisheries. The Pelagic Association will follow this up with its members.
Happy UK Deal – But still bad taste: Norwegian Fishermen’s Association
Leader of the Norwegian Fishermen’s Association Kåre Heggebø is satisfied that Norway has entered into a fisheries agreement with the United Kingdom for 2022 but is not at all satisfied with the balance in the agreement.
“A reasonable mutual solution has been achieved for the fleet that fishes whitefish in each other’s zones, but we are not happy with the framework for the pelagic fleet,” Kåre Heggebø points out.
Heggebø points out that Norwegian vessels have still severely limited access to fish for North Sea herring in the British zone, and that it has not been possible to gain access to Norway Pout quotas, as we have had a long tradition in our previous agreement with the EU.
In previous agreements, we could fish up to 60,000 tonnes of herring in the British zone, while we are now limited to a limit of 17,000 tonnes, which is connected to British vessels being able to fish a corresponding quantity of Norwegian spring-spawning herring in the Norwegian zone.
“It is therefore important to work to bring about improvements in the fishing opportunities for the pelagic fleet,” says Heggebø, and points out that there is also a wording in the agreement text that opens up for further dialogue on this issue.
Heggebø believes that the solution for whitefish with a mutual access to be able to fish within a quota limit of 30,000 tonnes will mean that the majority of this fleet can resume a traditional fishing pattern in the British zone.
“Then we get to evaluate at the end of the year to see how this has worked,” he says.
The leader of Fiskarlaget is pleased that we have gained access to quotas of ling and tusk on the west side of the British Isles in ICES area 6, an area in which the Norwegian longline fleet has long-standing traditions of fishing.
However, he is clear that it was right not to enter into an agreement with the UK for the current year, as the draft agreement framework was in the spring of 2021. He emphasizes that it is important to normalize our co-operation with the UK again, and that it was therefore important to get a joint quota agreement for 2022.
“Both countries have many common interests to work together on related to the management of the stocks in the North Sea and Northeast Atlantic,” says Heggebø, not least related to the unresolved issues of management and distribution of several of the large pelagic stocks.
The agreement could have been better: Fiskebåt
“We have had a need to clarify the fishing relationship with our most important contracting party in our southern sea areas. Fishing boat is not satisfied with the solution, when it came to mutual zone access in the pelagic sector. Norway took several extra rounds of negotiations to improve zone access for North Sea herring, as well as try to put in place a quota change on Norway pout. We did not quite reach the goal, but have achieved wordings in the agreement text that show that the last word has not been said in these cases. The totality taken into account, the EU agreement and the unresolved situation with regard to the management and distribution of mackerel, meant that we stood behind the outcome of the negotiations,” says Audun Maråk, CEO of Fiskebåt.