Norwegian Minister of Fisheries Bjørnar Skjæran has welcomed the EU agreement on Norway’s exclusive right to regulate fishing in the Svalbard zone Bjørnar Skjæran, has been appointed Minister of Fisheries and Maritime Affairs in the new government

Norwegian Minister of Fisheries Bjørnar Skjæran has welcomed the EU agreement on Norway’s exclusive right to regulate fishing in the Svalbard zone

The Norwegian Minister of Fisheries and Ocean Policy, Bjørnar Skjæran has welcomed the European Union decision to recognise Norway’s exclusive right to regulate fishing in the Svalbard zone.

It follows from the understanding between Norway and the EU, which can be read here: ad-hoc-exploratory-consultations-in-relation-to-the-fisheries-in-ices-areas-1-and-2.pdf (regjeringen.no), where the EU agrees that it is Norway’s right and duty to decide measures on “the conservation and management of marine living resources in areas where it has sovereign rights, including in the Fishery Protection Zone around Svalbard”.

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Norway will now allocate vessels from EU member states a cod quota in the fisheries protection zone off Svalbard after Norway and the EU reached an understanding on fishing in the northern waters.

“We are pleased that we have now reached an understanding on this matter. Our talks have been productive, and we would like to commend the EU’s constructive approach. The understanding is based on respect for rights of jurisdiction and management responsibilities, and will promote sustainable management, stability and cooperation.,” says Minister Skjæran.

After the United Kingdom left the EU, Norway set separate quotas for vessels from the EU and the United Kingdom for fishing for cod in the fisheries protection zone off Svalbard for 2021. The EU challenged the setting of quotas. Norway and the EU have now reached an understanding on fishing in the northern waters, Norway will allocate vessels from EU member states a cod quota in the fisheries protection zone off Svalbard 

The understanding with the EU, together with a similar understanding with the United Kingdom that came into place in December 2021, provides predictability for everyone who fishes in the northern areas on the basis of various types of agreements. It is also emphasized in the understanding that the established management regime in the northern waters has ensured sustainable management for several decades.

“The clarifications we have arrived at are based on respect for jurisdiction and administrative responsibility and will contribute to stability and good cooperation. It will also ensure sustainable management of the cod stock and other important stocks such as blue halibut and redfish,” says Minister Skjæran.

Norway has the exclusive right to regulate fishing in all zones where we have sovereign rights and jurisdiction, this also applies in the fisheries protection zone off Svalbard. According to the understanding, Norway will allocate vessels from EU Member States a cod quota in the fisheries protection zone, while the EU will in turn lay down regulations for Member States’ vessels in international waters, both in the Barents Sea and in the Norwegian Sea, in consultation with Norway. This will apply to fishing for cod, haddock, redfish and halibut, and may apply both to direct fishing and as by-catch. The cod quota for 2022 will be 19,636 tonnes, which is within the traditional third country quota in the fisheries protection zone.

Asked if the agreement will see a closer working relationship between Norway and the EU, Minister Skjæran said, “Norway and the EU work together on a range of issues, and this cooperation will continue in a normal way.”

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Norwegian Minister of Fisheries welcomes EU agreement on Svalbard

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