The five-page document, published in both English and Norwegian, surfaced on the internet just a week after the pact was concluded. Under the agreement, the UK and Norway agreed to fix quotas and access to each other’s waters annually. UK fishing fleets land around £32 million worth of fish from Norwegian waters each year.
It was the first fisheries agreement signed by Britain as an independent coastal state in 40 years.
The leaked framework agreement doesn’t contain exact details on potential fishing opportunities, which will be decided as part of annual negotiations.
But Downing Street has secured the use of “zonal attachment” – a scientific method to calculate quotas based on where fish live – in the pact.
This is also a key demand from No10 in the post-Brexit negotiations with the European Union.
The Norway agreement says: “We commit to recognising the importance of zonal attachment as a principle of international fisheries management applied by coastal states when discharging their obligations under UNCLOS and related instruments in relation to join management of shared stocks.”
Annual negotiations over access is also another win secured by British negotiators, and is also being asked as part of the EU fisheries agreement.
The Norway agreement states: “The Parties shall consult annually to seek to determine, inter alia, the following matters.
“Any access by fishing vessels flying the flag of one Party to the other’s area of jurisdiction.
“Any transfer of quota from one Party to the other for fishing by vessels flying the flag of the other Party, subjected to adjustment where necessary.
“The Parties shall produce a written record documenting the results of their consultations.”
The agreement will enter into force on January 1, 2021, after Britain has left the EU’s Common Fisheries Policy.
It will initially run until December 31, 2026 before fully renegotiated for another four-year period.
The pact concludes: “Either Party may terminate this Agreement by giving notice to the other Party at least one year before the expiry of the initial period.”
This is a sticking point in the EU negotiations because coastal states, like France, are pushing for a long-term solution.
Paris has even put forward an option that would keep a fisheries agreement in place for 20 years, according to EU sources.
Upon concluding the deal late last month, Environment Secretary George Eustice said: “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.”
Norwegian fisheries minister Odd Emil Ingebrigtsen said the deal “facilitates a good and solid fisheries cooperation for the future”.
“This is a great day,” he added. “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.”
Published at Wed, 07 Oct 2020 09:20:00 +0000