Norway and the EU have concluded a bilateral fisheries agreement for 2010 and a long-term agreement on management of North East Atlantic mackerel

Lisbeth Berg-Hansen, Minister of Fisheries and Coastal Affairs

Lisbeth Berg-Hansen, Minister of Fisheries and Coastal Affairs

“I am very content that these agreements have now been concluded, and that a difficult period of negotiations with the EU is over. We can now look forward with the view of finding joint solutions to new challenges. We had many rounds of negotiation with the European Union last autumn, but the challenges were so difficult that we had to resume negotiations in January. It is of major importance for the fishing industry in Norway and the EU that we now have agreements in place. The industry can now continue their important value creation within a stable framework,” said Minister of Fisheries and Coastal Affairs Lisbeth Berg-Hansen.

In addition to the bilateral fisheries agreement between Norway and the European Union (EU), the Parties have concluded a long-term, bilateral agreement on mackerel. This agreement contains provisions which regulate i.a. the quota sharing between the Parties, and the conditions for reciprocal access to the Parties’  zones.

“This provides for predictability and stability for the fishing industry in Norway and the EU, and therefore constitutes a major progress,” says Minister of Fisheries and Coastal Affairs Lisbeth Berg-Hansen. In accordance with the agreement the total quotas shall be based on the management strategy adopted by the coastal states. The agreement also commits the Parties to work for the establishment of a coastal states agreement that includes other parties. This work will continue in March.

The annual bilateral agreement is comprehensive, and provides reciprocal fishery opportunities for a number of fish stocks. We have management plans for herring, saithe, haddock and cod in the North Sea, based on advice from ICES. The quotas have been adopted in compliance with these plans. Such management plans shall ensure both sustainable management and provide for stability  for the industry, says Minister of Fisheries and Coastal Affairs Lisbeth Berg-Hansen.

Norway and the EU agree that important progress has been achieved regarding fisheries control.

“We will continue to strengthen our efforts to achieve satisfactory control regimes for all fisheries that Norway participates in,” says Berg-Hansen.

The stock situation for North Sea cod is still difficult, and the quota of 33,552 tonnes has been set in accordance with the recovery plan that the Parties agreed on last year. Norway and the EU agree to strengthen their cooperation on implementation of measures aimed at improving the exploitation pattern in the North Sea, including the introduction of more selective gear and the reduction of discards. The North Sea herring stock is in reasonably good condition, but recruitment has been low in recent years. A new management plan was therefore adopted last year, which is consistent with the precautionary approach. In accordance with the management rule, the quota has been set at 164 300 tonnes. The Norwegian quota is 47,647 tonnes.

The saithe stock is in good condition. In order to maintain the stock at a high level, the Parties agree to adhere to the management plan. This involves a 15 per cent reduction in next year’s quota. The total quota for 2010 is 106,908 tonnes, of which the Norwegian share is 56,592 tonnes.

The quota for haddock in the North Sea is to be reduced by 15 per cent which corresponds to a quota of 35,798. This reduction is in accordance with the management plan, and will be an important contribution to protection of the cod stock since cod is caught as by-catch in the haddock fishery in the North Sea. The Norwegian blue whiting quota in EU waters will be 59 900 tonnes in 2010. Norway and the EU have agreed to carry out exploratory fishing for sandeel in 2008.The Norwegian quota of Greenland halibut off Greenland, and the bottom fish quota in the EU zone are maintained at the same level. The EU cod quota in the Norwegian zone of the Barents Sea will be 20 050 tonnes in 2010.

Source: Ministry of Fisheries and Coastal Affairs

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