Newlyn Fish Market - boats due to land.

Friday, 11 December 2020

Norwegian zone may be closed from New Year for fishermen from the EU and the UK

Headline in today's Norwegian Fishing News:


"Norwegian zone may be closed from New Year for fishermen from the EU and the UK"

No bother: 

Minister of Fisheries and Seafood Odd Emil Ingebrigtsen said in Parliament that he believes the lack of zone access at the beginning of the year will not create any particular trouble for Norwegian fishermen. 

Norwegian zone may be closed from New Year for fishermen from the EU and the UK Fishermen from EU countries risk being banned from Norwegian waters if a fisheries agreement with the EU, the UK and Norway does not come into force before the New Year.

This was stated by the Minister of Fisheries and Seafood Odd Emil Ingebrigtsen in the Storting on Friday. 

No opening:

If we do not have agreements as of 1 January, we will not open Norway's economic zone for fishing with vessels from the EU and the UK, said the Minister of Fisheries and Seafood.

"Nor can we expect Norwegian vessels to gain access to their zones until there are agreements," the minister stated.

In the Storting, Ingebrigtsen also informed about the background for the message. He pointed out that negotiations with the EU and the UK on Brexit and fisheries agreements for 2021 are severely delayed. This means that it is not a given that the negotiations are completed before the turn of the year, he believes.

Manageable:

Audun Maråk, CEO of Fiskebåt, an interest and employer organisation for the Norwegian sea-going fleet, tells Fiskeribladet that it is manageable that Norwegian fishermen will not have access to the British zone and the EU zone in the new year. However, it can go beyond a line fishing for ling and tusk and a seigarn fishing in January and February.

Audun Maråk, CEO of Fiskebåt Photo: Marius Beck Dahle - In that case, we assume that this will be compensated for fish we exchange from us in the Norwegian zone for these boats, he says.

There have also been some inquiries about fishing for mackerel in the new year, but Maråk says they have asked them to comply with the possibility that no agreement will be reached.

He also believes that it will be too late to reach agreements with the EU and the British for fishing in the first months of next year.

It is therefore important that we get transitional arrangements, or temporary arrangements, for fishing in each other's zones from New Year. As it is now, it is difficult to plan something for someone, he says.

40 years of cooperation:

Norway has had fisheries cooperation with the EU for over 40 years. The cooperation means, among other things, that Norwegian fishermen have been able to fish in EU waters, and vice versa. Ingebrigtsen said in
Parliament that Norway has also contacted the EU to renegotiate the fisheries agreement entered into between the parties in 1980.

When asked by Geir Pollestad (Sp) whether the Minister believes that it will be more difficult to negotiate fisheries agreements with two parties, the EU and the UK, where there has been a party so far, Ingebrigtsen replied that:

"The more parties, the more complicated, I would assume. But with a good foundation in the agreement with the British, and with an agreement on a renegotiated agreement with the EU, I have good faith in an agreement for 2021", he said.

Up to the EU:

Ingebrigtsen believes that the lack of zone access at the beginning of the year will not create any particular trouble for Norwegian fishermen.

"We had a similar situation in 2014. Norwegian fishermen mostly start their fish in the Norwegian zone in the new year. It will be up to the EU to come up with proposals to reach an agreement" he said.

December 11, 2020 By Nils Torsvik in Bergen.