UK, Norway sign agreement on 2024 access to North Sea fishing grounds

Fishing boat cloudy sky

As a result of recently concluded negotiations between U.K. and Norwegian fishery representatives, U.K. fishers secured continued access to commercially important whitefish stocks in the Norwegian North Sea for next year.

Following Brexit, the U.K. has been negotiating fisheries deals as an independent coastal state, and this latest bilateral agreement – reached on 14 December – mirrors previous arrangements the country has enjoyed with Norway.

Specifically, it gives the U.K. fleet access to 30,000 metric tons (MT) of Norwegian whitefish stocks, including cod, haddock, and hake; access for up to 20,000 MT of herring in the countries’ respective waters; and quota transfers of key U.K. stocks, such as anglerfish.

“Leaving the E.U. has presented us with the chance to seize post-Brexit freedoms … [by] negotiating deals and implementing broader fisheries measures that will [move] our fishing industry toward a more profitable and sustainable future,” U.K. Fisheries Minister Mark Spencer explained in a statement. “The arrangements with Norway announced today will provide certainty and continuity, allowing fishermen to access important North Sea stocks.”

U.K. Government Minister for Scotland John Lamont added more detail about the Scottish fleet in particular, saying that Scottish trawlers securing continued access to Norwegian North Sea waters was “great news” and, alongside new funding from the GBP 100 million (USD 126.4 million, EUR 115.8 million) U.K. Seafood Fund, the U.K. is delivering on its commitment to providing the nation’s entire fishing industry with a “bright, sustainable future.”

During the negotiations, U.K. and Norwegian delegations also agreed to cooperate on improving the gear used within North Sea fisheries, mainly focusing on the protection of small and juvenile fish. To this end, both sides will establish a joint working group of gear experts, who will report back on their findings by October 2024. Norway will host the group’s first meeting.

The U.K. government has calculated ... 

Photo courtesy of LianeM/Shutterstock

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