Norway and the EU reached a political understanding in relation to the fisheries in the Northeast Arctic, in ICES subareas 1 and 2. The area concerned includes the waters around the archipelago of Svalbard and the international waters of the Barents Sea. The understanding ensures sustainable fishing in the Northeast Arctic, while also providing certainty for EU fleets fishing in that area.
Virginijus Sinkevičius, Commissioner for the Environment, Oceans and Fisheries, said: “The understanding with Norway reflects our joint commitment to sustainable fishing and highlights what can be achieved when addressing matters of common interest together. We look forward to continuing and further strengthening our joint efforts in the area of fisheries and in this respect I look forward to meeting Bjørnar Selnes Skjæran, the Norwegian Minister for Fisheries, during my upcoming travel to the Arctic Frontiers conference in Tromsø.”
Through the understanding, Norway and the EU reiterate their commitment to the continued sustainable management of marine living resources in the Northeast Arctic, in accordance with international law. The understanding allows EU fleets fishing for cod in the waters around the archipelago of Svalbard to continue fishing in line with their historic fishing rights. Norway and the EU will continue setting catch limits applying to EU vessels fishing in Svalbard waters in their legislation, as is the established practice.
The understanding furthermore strengthens cooperation on measures in relation to fisheries in the Northeast Arctic, ensuring sustainable fishing. The fisheries covered are fisheries with catches of cod, redfish, haddock and Greenland halibut. The EU and Norway will in this case engage in consultations regarding such measures, and the measures will be set in a coordinated manner.
The EU will now engage with Norway to determine the next steps that they will take to implement the actions. The reaching of this agreement also provides the opportunity for Norway and the EU to focus on other issues of common interest in the area of fisheries.
The understanding also allowed the EU today to set a definitive total allowable catch (TAC) figure of 19.636 t for Arctic cod in an amendment of the Fishing Opportunities Regulation for 2022, replacing the provisional TAC of 4.500t, which expires on 30 April.