UK and Iceland sign fisheries agreement, stepping up cooperation

The United Kingdom and Iceland are to increase their collaborative efforts on fisheries matters through a new memorandum of understanding (MOU) that has been signed by U.K. Fisheries Minister Victoria Prentis and Icelandic Minister of Fisheries Kristján Þór Júlíusson. It is the first fisheries agreement ever made between the two countries.

According to the U.K. government, the MOU, which will come into effect on 1 January, 2021, will establish a U.K.-Iceland Fisheries Dialogue, whereby both countries share best-practice and cooperate on a range of issues, including product innovation and food waste reduction. It will also provide a platform for businesses to exchange knowledge on the adoption of new technologies, and ways to enhance the value, traceability and marketing of seafood products.

“This agreement demonstrates the strong relationship between our two nations on matters including trade and fisheries. I would like to thank our Icelandic counterparts for the constructive approach they have adopted throughout these negotiations. We have already seen the potential of working together given the number of shared issues and objectives our countries have on fishery management, and we look forward to continuing this constructive dialogue,” Prentis said.

Júlíusson also acknowledged a “clear mutual interest” for the two countries to closely collaborate on fisheries.

“There is great friendship among our nations and we have had close relations for centuries. These relations have not least centered on to fisheries. From the Icelandic side, Britain is an important market for many Icelandic companies and the British government is an important partner for us in many international organizations. I’m convinced that this Memorandum of Understanding is the start of a very good cooperation,” he said.

The agreement follows recent agreements that the U.K. has made with Norway and the Faroe Islands, and the bilateral arrangement with Greenland, as it prepares to leave the E.U. Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) at the end of December. These will ensure that as an independent coastal state, it has arrangements in place with its principal fisheries partners across the Northeast Atlantic.

Earlier this year, the “U.K.-Iceland Joint Vision for 2030” was signed by the two countries, which included commitments on fisheries issues, such as the promotion of responsible fisheries to ensure the long-term conservation and sustainable use of marine resources, and also to endeavor to use a science-based approach to fisheries and aquaculture management to minimize impacts on the marine environment.

Photo courtesy of Maksym Kapliuk/Shutterstock


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