The Norwegian Pelagic Association has set out its demands on mackerel fishing for 2021 to the asked their Ministry for Fisheries
The Norwegian Pelagic Association has asked their Ministry for Fisheries to consider several measures due to the lack of zone access for fishing their mackerel quota in 2021.
Traditionally Norwegian pelagic vessels have fished a large part of their quota in Scottish waters but with the failure to agree a bilateral deal between the UK and Norway now means that Norwegian fishermen have to fish the entire quota in Norwegian waters, which creates great concern among fishermen there.
Norwegian quota share
The Pelagic Association recommends that the ministry evaluate available zone affiliation reports and set a unilateral Norwegian mackerel quota for 2021 as compensation for lack of zone access. The quota should be set within scientifically sustainable goals, and the Pelagic Association’s estimate is that a Norwegian quota between 30 and 35% of the TAC may be an appropriate level.
Extended quota flex/quota guarantee:
The Pelagic Association recommends that the ministry consider various forms of quota flexibility or grant guarantees that the unfished quantity can be transferred to next year, and thus ensure that the Norwegian quota can be fished in its entirety.
The Pelagic Association points out that similar measures were introduced by the Ministry in 2011, when the EU closed its zone to Norwegian fishermen.
Increased preparedness in connection with the opening of fjord lines
The mackerel is a shoal fish that moves fast, and permission to fish within the fjord lines must be available “there and then”.
The Pelagic Association strongly recommends that the Ministry, together with the Directorate of Fisheries and HI, introduce a form of emergency preparedness that enables the administration to process exemption applications continuously and quickly.
In 2021, the situation is even more critical than in previous years, since there is a danger that the fish will be scared away from Norwegian waters and that the fishing will have to take place on a significantly smaller area than before.
The Pelagic Association recommends that NFD intensify its dialogue with relevant ministries and directorates to ensure that special considerations are taken into account this year and that fisheries are given priority.
Regular reporting from HI’s ecosystem cruise
The Institute of Marine Research’s major ecosystem cruise is planned this year in the period 1 July – 3 August, and the six vessels that will participate will cover an area of a total of 3.5 million km 2 . As mentioned earlier, mackerel is a fast swimmer and regular reports from the ecosystem cruise can facilitate the exploration operation of the Norwegian vessels.
The Pelagic Association recommends that the ministry, together with HI, look at the possibility of short, more frequent updates of the cruise reports during the ecosystem cruise.
Fishing in international waters
The Pelagic Association advises against the Ministry considering a restriction on Norwegian fishing in international waters as a relevant measure. The main goal is to ensure that the quota is fished in its entirety, and although such restrictions may seem enticing in a possible zoning discussion, there is a risk that such a measure will be too restrictive and thus work against its purpose.