The UK has today signed a historic fisheries agreement with Norway – the UK’s first since leaving the EU and first as an independent coastal state in 40 years.
The Fisheries Framework Agreement signed today by Environment Secretary George Eustice and Norwegian Fisheries Minister Odd Emil Ingebrigtsen will mean that the UK and Norway hold annual negotiations on the issues of access to waters and quotas.
It is a significant step forward as the UK prepares to leave the EU’s Common Fisheries Policy at the end of December. Leaving the EU means the UK is able to decide who can access its waters and on what terms, in the best interest of its marine environment and its seafood and fishing sectors.
The agreement demonstrates the shared will of the UK and Norway to cooperate as independent coastal states and seek effective and sustainable management of their fisheries. The treaty incorporates the same principles that the UK is currently seeking with the EU – a framework agreement which reflects the UK’s and Norway’s rights under international law.
Environment Secretary George Eustice said: “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 UK fishing industry.
“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.”
Norwegian Fisheries and Seafood Minister Odd Emil Ingebrigtsen said: “This is a great day! I am pleased that we have reached an agreement with the United Kingdom, which will be an important coastal state and partner from January 2021. 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.”
Each year, the UK fishing fleet lands £32m worth of fish from Norwegian waters. In previous years, bilateral negotiations with Norway were led by the European Commission on behalf of the UK and other Member States. This autumn, for the first time in over 40 years, the UK will be negotiating fishing opportunities for 2021 as an independent coastal state.
British fishing communities will benefit from the fisheries agreements that the UK is negotiating with our coastal state partners which ensure that the needs of our fishermen & our fish stocks are put first. Through agreements like the one we have signed with Norway, the UK is taking back control of its natural resources while seeking to restore more of our fish stocks to healthy levels.