The U.K. and Norway have inked a new fisheries agreement, the first the former has made since it left the European Union.
Signed by U.K. Environment Secretary George Eustice and Norwegian Fisheries Minister Odd Emil Ingebrigtsen, the new Fisheries Framework Agreement outlines the principles of how the two nations will cooperate on fisheries issues after 31 December, when the U.K. fully leaves the E.U. Common Fisheries Policy (CFP). From 2021, they will hold annual negotiations on the issues of access to waters and quotas.
The U.K. government said the agreement demonstrates the shared will of the U.K. and Norway to cooperate as independent coastal states and to seek effective and sustainable management of their fisheries.
It added that the treaty incorporates the same principles that the U.K. is currently seeking with the E.U.
“I am delighted that a Framework Fisheries Agreement with Norway has been successfully secured. The agreement is testament to our commitment to acting as a cooperative independent coastal state, seeking to ensure a sustainable and a prosperous future for the whole of the U.K. fishing industry,” Eustice said. “I pay tribute to our Norwegian counterparts for the constructive approach they adopted throughout these negotiations, and we look forward to working with them closely in the coming years.”
Ingebrigtsen also voiced his pleasure at having reached an agreement. It is “a great day,” he said.
“This agreement facilitates a good and solid fisheries cooperation for the future. The management of shared fish stocks is at its best when the coastal states agree on how this should happen,” Ingebrigtsen said.
Each year, the U.K. fishing fleet lands GBP 32 million (USD 41.1 million, EUR 35.1 million) worth of fish from Norwegian waters.
In previous years, bilateral negotiations with Norway were led by the European Commission on behalf of the U.K. and other member states. This autumn, for the first time in over 40 years, it will be negotiating fishing opportunities for 2021 as an independent coastal state.
The agreement has also been welcomed by the National Federation of Fishermen’s Organisation (NFFO) in the U.K.
“This is the established pattern of how coastal states with shared stocks work with each other to ensure that fish stocks are harvested responsibly and sustainably. Annual agreements provide the necessary flexibility to address changes in the stocks and the science, whilst the framework agreement ensures continuity and a framework of cooperation,” NFFO Chief Executive Barrie Deas said.
The NFFO highlighted that around 80 percent of the North Sea falls within the exclusive economic zones (EEZ) of Norway and the United Kingdom, with the E.U. only accounting for one fifth after the United Kingdom’s departure.
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