UK, Faroe Islands sign fisheries agreement

The United Kingdom has signed a fisheries framework agreement with the Faroe Islands, the second coastal state agreement negotiated since the former left the European Union.

Following the U.K.-Norway fisheries treaty signed on 30 September, this new agreement was signed by U.K. Ambassador to Denmark Emma Hopkins and Faroese Fisheries Minister Jacob Vestergaard. U.K. Fisheries Minister Victoria Prentis joined the ceremony via video conference.

Setting out that the U.K. and the Faroes will hold annual negotiations on the issues of access to waters and quotas, the new treaty is part of the United Kingdom’s preparations for leaving the E.U. Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) at the end of December. It includes principles that demonstrate the shared will of both parties to cooperate as independent coastal states and seek effective and sustainable management of their fisheries.

“This agreement will ensure that annual fisheries negotiations can take place this year to the benefit of our fishing industry,” Prentis said. “I would like to thank our Faroese counterparts for their constructive approach, and I look forward to building on the strong and historic links between our nations while taking further steps to responsibly manage our seas.”

Vestergaard said the signing of the agreement represented a “historic day” for the relations between the Faroes and the United Kingdom.

“The signing of the fisheries agreement is a landmark in our history and a stepping stone in our joint ambition to develop further the cooperation between our two nations. I am especially pleased with the sincere and constructive working relationship between Faroe and U.K. ministers and officials in recent years,” Vestergaard said.

U.K. Government Minister for Scotland David Duguid said that, following the agreement with Norway, this was “another significant step” on the country’s road to becoming an independent coastal state.

“Leaving the restrictions of the Common Fisheries Policy means we can decide who can access our waters. We will shortly begin our annual negotiations with the E.U. on fishing opportunities for next year and continue to push for a sustainable and profitable future for Scotland’s vital fishing industry,” Duguid said.

Each year, the U.K. fishing fleet catches around GBP 2.3 million (USD 3 million, EUR 2.6 million) worth of fish from Faroese waters, with species including cod, haddock, and pollock landed in ports such as Lerwick, Peterhead, and Ullapool.

In previous years, bilateral negotiations with the Faroe Islands were led by the European Commission on behalf of the U.K. and other member states. This fall, for the first time in more than 40 years, the U.K. will be negotiating fishing opportunities for 2021 as an independent coastal state.

Photo courtesy of Dimitrios Karamitros/Shutterstock


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