Thursday, 21 May 2020

UK Government Publishes Draft Fisheries Framework Agreement.

The UK Government has published its Draft Fisheries Framework Agreement paper that it presented to the EU negotiators last week.

The paper was presented to EU Chief Negotiator Michel Barnier and his team by his UK colleague, David Frost.

The Draft Fisheries Framework Agreement Agreement outlines the future relationship the UK would like to see implemented between the two blocs.

Last week the UK Chief Negotiator said that there had been a good discussion between the two talks teams on the fisheries paper but yet they remain at odds over an agreement as the UK refuses to discuss fisheries as part of any Trade agreement between the two blocs.

Having a summary look at the Fisheries Framework Agreement Paper the main points of the discussion are as follows.

Article 2 of the Draft Negotiating Document calls for Annual Negotiations on Fishing Opportunities and Access.

On this issue, the EU where they would like to have a set agreement in place rather than coming back every year to negotiate total allowable catches and access to their fleet.

The UK believe that as an Independent Coastal State the EU must annually renew: (a) fishing opportunities, taking into account the best scientific evidence available to the Parties, the ICES-recommended TAC, the interdependence of stocks, the work of appropriate international organisations, socio-economic aspects and other relevant factors; (b) the amount of fishing opportunities mentioned in sub-paragraph (a) above that will be available to each Party, based on the principle of zonal attachment; and (c) any access for each Party’s vessels to relevant waters of the other Party for fishing.

Article 3 – Authorisations, Compliance and Enforcement would require all vessels including EU fishing vessels that are granted licences to fish in UK waters to comply with the rules and regulations as outlined by the UK.

Articles 4 – Fisheries Management would implement the policy that each bloc (the UK and the EU) would manage its own fisheries independently and notify the other party of any significant new fisheries management measures or changes to existing measures that would affect the other bloc’s fishing vessels.

This would mean the EU would have no interference in the decisions the UK takes in managing fish stocks, TAC’s and the number of fishing vessels allowed in their water. The same would work the other way for the UK having a say in EU marine matters.

Article 5 – Co-operation The Draft Negotiating Document allows for the setting-up and running of a Fisheries Co-operation Forum for discussion and co-operation in relation to sustainable fisheries management, including monitoring, control and enforcement.

Article 6 – Data Sharing The Parties would have to agree to share vessel monitoring systems data relating to their respective vessels and information to prevent, deter and eliminate illegal, unreported and unregulated (“IUU”) fishing.

In addition to the listed above, it will be data shared, for the purposes of: (a) monitoring, controlling and enforcing compliance with applicable rules and regulations (including licence conditions); (b) monitoring the use of fishing opportunities; (c) managing sea fisheries sustainably; (d) developing marine and fisheries policies; (e) preventing, deterring and eliminating IUU fishing; and (f) any other purpose related to the implementation of this Agreement or any access arrangements made under it.

Article 7 – Designation of ports The Parties will each have to ensure that, by 1 January 2021, the ports listed as designated ports to this Agreement have been designated in accordance with: (a) Article 21 of the North-East Atlantic Fisheries Commission’s Scheme of Control and Enforcement; and (b) any provision of UK or EU law relating to the prevention, deterrence or elimination of IUU fishing.

The Parties shall consult each other in advance if they wish to designate additional ports, have additional ports designated, or remove the designation of a port listed.

Article 8 – Consultation and Dispute Resolution The Parties agree to consult on questions relating to the implementation and proper functioning of this Agreement, or in the event of a dispute concerning the interpretation or application thereof.

Article 9 – Suspension allows for the suspension of the agreement on the initiative of either of the Parties in the event of: (a) a dispute arising between the Parties over the interpretation or application of this Agreement or its implementation; or (b) failure by either of the Parties to comply with the provisions of this Agreement.

The suspension of the Agreement shall be notified in writing by the Party concerned and the suspension will take effect three months after receipt of the notification.

The Parties shall consult each other from the moment of notification of suspension with a view to finding an amicable settlement to their dispute within three months. Where such settlement is reached, implementation of this Agreement shall resume.

Article 10 – Amendments Either party may request from the other party for an amendment to the Agreement. This will be carried out by the exchange of diplomatic notes

Article 11 – Law of the Sea states that the law of the sea will not be affected by this agreement.

Article 12 – Entry into Force, Application and Termination states that each Party shall notify the other Party in writing through diplomatic channels of the completion of its domestic requirements for entry into force of this Agreement. This Agreement will enter into force on a date to be mutually agreed and specified in these notifications.

Click here to read the full text of the Draft Fisheries Framework Agreement.