Norway has called time on the EU cod quota in the Svalbard Zone and the EU has threatened action against Norway over the closure
The EU has threatened Norway with “all necessary means” and Norway has threatened to arrest EU fishing vessels overfishing their quota around the Svalbard Zone, according to Norwegian media outlet Aftenposten.no.
As the discord deepens between the EU and Norway over the cod quota in the Svalbard Zone both sides are refusing to alter their stance, which means they are heading for war or a stand-off.
On Thursday, Norwegian Ministry of Fisheries issued J-165-2021: Regulation on stopping cod fishing for vessels flying the flag of Member States of the European Union (EU) in the fisheries protection zone off Svalbard in 2021.
The regulation means that the EU fleet can continue fishing in the Svalbard Zone, but any cod caught will be deducted from the quota set aside in the Norwegian economic zone.
According to the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Fisheries, it is in line with the Norwegian regulation of cod in the fisheries protection zone that the NØS quota can be fished at Svalbard.
Ministry of Trade, Industry and Fisheries
J-165-2021: Regulation on stopping cod fishing for vessels flying the flag of Member States of the European Union (EU) in the fisheries protection zone off Svalbard in 2021
Valid from: 09.09.2021
Valid until: 31.12.2021
Regulations on stopping cod fishing for vessels flying the flag of Member States of the European Union (EU) in the fisheries protection zone off Svalbard in 2021
- 1 Stop fishing
Established by the Directorate of Fisheries on 9 September 2021 on the basis of Act no. 91 of 17 December 1976 on Norway’s economic zone, Act no. 37 of 6 June 2008 on the management of wild marine resources (Marine Resources Act) § 11, § 16 and § 59, regulations 3 June 1977 no. 6 on fish protection zone at Svalbard § 3, and regulations 18 December 2032 on regulation of fishing for cod in the fish protection zone off Svalbard in 2021 § 6
- 1 Stop fishing
Fishing for cod for vessels flying the flag of an EU Member State will be suspended with effect from 09.09.2021.
Vessels licensed by the Norwegian Directorate of Fisheries for fishing for cod in Norway’s economic zone north of 62 ° N in 2021 may continue fishing in the fisheries protection zone off Svalbard until the quota allocated to the EU in Norway’s economic zone north of 62 ° N has been fished up.
- 2 Punishment
Anyone who intentionally or negligently violates provisions in or given pursuant to the regulations is punished in accordance with the Economic Zone Act §§ 8 and 9 and the Marine Resources Act §§ 60, 61, 64 and § 65. Attempts and participation are punished in the same way
- 3 Entry into force
The regulation enters into force immediately and applies until 31 December 2021.
Norwegian political parties have called for unity on the matter and have issued notice to the EU fleet in the Svalbard Zone
“If the EU continues fishing after the quotas have been filled, we must use measures such as fines, arrests or towing. it is important that we as a country stand together in thus type of case,” says Sps Geir Pollestad, leader of the business committee.
“We make it easy for the EU if we make this matter into party politics in Norway,” Pollestad continues. The Center Party supports the Norwegian government’s view of the dispute and the demands have been made.
“We support the Norwegian authorities’’ handling of this case,” says Anniken Huitfeldt of the Labour Party and Chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee.
She continued, “A Labour-led government will defend Norwegian fishing rights and interests. In resent decades, Norwegian fisheries and quota policy has been far more successful than in our European neighbours.
The dispute over the cod quota in the Svalbard Zone has been as a result of Brexit. With the UK leaving the EU, Norway took the opportunity to cut the cod quota they allocated annually to the EU fleet.
In Norway there is a growing sentiment against the EU and all it stands for, and the bloc has even been accused of using “bully tactics” against Norway, trying to push Norway around like they do with Ireland.
“The conflict is no longer just about fish. It is about Norwegian sovereignty on Svalbard and in the Svalbard zone in particular,” writes Arne Byrkjeflot, Fisheries Analysist with Norwegian campaign “No to the EU”.
He writes, “The conflict is no longer just about fish. It is about Norwegian sovereignty on Svalbard and in the Svalbard zone in particular. The Svalbard Treaty requires equal treatment between the countries that have signed the agreement. Norway believes it only applies within the territorial limit of 12 nautical miles. Since Svalbard is Norwegian, the law of the sea gives Norway an economic zone around Svalbard where the Svalbard Treaty does not apply.
“The EU claims that either the equal treatment price principle also applies in the fishing zone and that it gives the right to everyone who is a party to the Svalbard Treaty to set their own quotas or it is international waters with completely free fishing.
“With this starting point, it becomes especially when the EU accuses Norway and Russia of setting too high and unsustainable quotas. If the EU gets what they want, it will be free to prey in the Svalbard zone. Completely without sustainability. In addition, the EU is not a signature country in the Svalbard Treaty.”
Issues between the powerhouses are growing with the EU strong arming Norway. Ina diplomatic note from 29 June, the EU threatened Norway in sharp terms.
The note read, “The EU is ready to take the necessary measures against Norway to protect legitimate fishing rights and the EU’s interests that have been illegally curtailed.”
Norway has not responded to this note but in May this year they rejected this notion.
Speaking to The Fishing Daily, an EU Commission spokesperson said, “The EU expects Norway to respect the EU fishing rights in Svalbard waters, which include the right to fish the EU Arctic cod quota of 24,645 tonnes.
Asked if the EU are looking for a peaceful solution, the spokesperson replied, “The EU maintains an open dialogue with the Norwegian counterparts at all levels.
“The EU has also reiterated its willingness and readiness to further increase diplomatic efforts with Norway to get to an agreement on the fishing rights in the Svalbard waters and on the sustainable fisheries management of stocks occurring also in Svalbard waters.
“The position of the EU on Arctic cod in Svalbard waters was set out in the two Note Verbales, adopted by the Council. The EU sent these to Norway in February and at the end of June.
“There have also been interactions at technical level with the Norwegian counterparts in the Norwegian Ministry of Trade, Industry and Fisheries, including as recently as last week. There have also been recent interactions by the EEAS with Norway through diplomatic channels.
“Moreover, there have been interactions at political level, between Commissioner Sinkevičius and Executive Vice-President Timmermans and their counterparts.
The spokesperson continued, “The position of the EU on Arctic cod in Svalbard waters was clearly set out in the two Notes Verbales, adopted by the Council. The EU sent these to Norway in February and at the end of June. In these Notes Verbales, the EU called upon Norway to withdraw or amend its unilateral discriminatory decision on the EU Arctic cod quota. In the Note Verbales, we recall the obligation of all Parties to cooperate in order to agree on measures for Arctic cod in the Barents Sea.
“We are continuing to engage at all levels with Norway to try to resolve the issue of the unilateral discriminatory decision on the EU Arctic cod quota through diplomatic means. The EU also stands ready to cooperate in order to ensure a return to sustainable management of the Arctic cod stock, in the appropriate international fora.”
by Oliver McBride