Norway encourages the EU and the U.K. to start trilateral fisheries consultations

The absence of fisheries agreements with the EU and the U.K. may lead to consequences for Norwegian, British and EU vessels.

– Until we reach an agreement for 2021, the Norwegian Economic Zone Norwegian will not be open to vessels from the EU and the U.K. Respectively, Norwegian vessels cannot expect to be allowed access to EU waters or UK areas of jurisdiction. I encourage the EU and the UK to join us in trilateral consultations, says the Norwegian Minister for Fisheries and Seafood, Odd Emil Ingebrigtsen.

Long-term cooperation

In more than 40 years, the EU and Norway have had a long-standing bilateral cooperation on fisheries management. Our yearly agreements have allowed Norwegian vessels to access EU waters, and vice versa, EU vessels have been allowed to access the Norwegian Economic Zone.  

The transition period that has been agreed between the EU and the U.K. will expire on 31 December of this year. Consequently, the U.K. will act as an independent coastal state from 1 January 2021.

– From the Norwegian government's point of view, it is clear that we need to have in place a trilateral agreement between the EU, the U.K. and Norway, that facilitates for a long-term, sustainable cooperation on fisheries management between close neighbours, says Minister Ingebrigtsen.

Hoping for clarity

The consultations on quotas for the shared stocks in the North Sea for 2021 have not yet commenced. Due to the ongoing negotiations between the European Union and the U.K., we have not succeeded in have not been successful in including the EU to join Norway and the UK for trilateral talks.

Several North Sea fish stocks moves between Norwegian, British and EU waters, which is why Norway wishes the three parties to meet in order to consult on the management of our shared stocks.

– Norway remains ready to start consultations for our shared stocks in the North Sea, in order to agree on total allowable catches (TAC). Our aim is to ensure that the fishing activity can continue as normal and without disruption from 1 January 2021, however this will require a prompt action from all parties.

National quotas

Until we reach an agreement for 2021, Norway will set national quotas in accordance with ICES advice.

Access will not be granted for EU nor for U.K. vessels to the Norwegian Economic Zone. The same will apply for the area of Skagerrak, which is subject to a bilateral Agreement between the EU and Norway regarding access for vessels flying the flag of Denmark, Sweden and Norway from 4 nm from the baselines. Correspondingly, Norwegian vessels will not be able to access EU or U.K. waters.

Norway has bilateral agreements for fisheries cooperation with the EU and the U.K. While our framework agreement with the EU is from 1980, the agreement with the U.K. was signed 30 September this year. These framework agreements relates to overarching principles for fisheries cooperation and does not directly regulate issues such as zonal access and quota exchange. Such issues must be agreed on a yearly basis between Norway, the EU and the UK, respectively.