EU, Norway ink fishing arrangements for 2020

Published on
December 18, 2019

Three fisheries arrangements for 2020 have been agreed by the E.U. and Norway, with the two parties settling on a 50 percent cut in the total allowable catch (TAC) for North Sea cod.

Following negotiation rounds in November and December, two bilateral arrangements and a neighboring arrangement were signed. The bilateral arrangements cover the North Sea and the Atlantic, and Skagerrak and Kattegat, whilst the neighboring arrangement covers the Swedish fishery in Norwegian waters of the North Sea.

The E.U. and Norway agreed on quotas for the jointly managed cod, haddock, plaice, whiting, herring, and saithe stocks in the North Sea, and Skagerrak cod, haddock, whiting, plaice, shrimp, herring, and sprat, as well as an exchange of reciprocal fishing possibilities.

In the North Sea, five out of six stocks jointly-managed with Norway have been set in line with scientific advice from the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES), at maximum sustainable yield (MSY) levels. This has resulted in 2020 quota reductions for saithe (down 15 percent) and whiting (down 13 percent) at 88,093 MT and 22,082 MT, respectively, while the haddock quota has been raised by 23 percent to 41,818 metric tons (MT) and plaice was increased by 17 percent to 166,499 MT. A rollover quota of 385,008 MT was set for herring.

For the North Sea cod stock, the E.U. had advocated for a strict application of the MSY approach for 2020, which would have resulted in a 61 percent TAC decrease. However, the final TAC was set at 17,679 MT, half that of 2019, representing a less ambitious decrease than the E.U. had hoped for.

But the two parties have agreed to implement a range of additional measures to protect adult and juvenile cod during the year, including area closures. The E.U. will also implement a specific control and inspection program to further reduce catches of juveniles.

The E.U. and Norway also agreed to roll over last year’s agreement on quota exchanges. Specifically, the E.U. received more than 21,518 MT of Arctic cod. 

Photo courtesy of /Shutterstock

Contributing Editor reporting from London, UK

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