With no agreement reached between the UK and EU, a temporary measure has been agreed for the North Sea and Skagerrak for the first quarter of 2021, with quotas for the first quarter of 2021 are set at a level corresponding to 25% of quotas for 2020, but incorporating exceptions that take into account seasonal activity and scientific advice.
Denmark’s Minister of Food, Agriculture and Fisheries Rasmus Prehn is relieved that a temporary agreement for the first quarter has been reached.
‘There have been difficult and long negotiations in the shadow of Brexit. Danish fishermen are naturally concerned about the lack of a Brexit agreement. We have found a compromise within the EU where we extend the quotas for 2020. This means that fishermen can continue fishing in EU waters after 1st January, even though no Brexit agreement has yet been reached. Here I have fought for an appropriate quota for the species that fishermen can primarily fish in the first quarter,’ Rasmus Prehn said.
He commented that it is particularly important for Denmark to ensure a solution that creates predictability for the industry and the opportunity to catch a reasonable amount of the pelagic species that are in season for the first quarter. This includes mackerel and blue whiting.
‘There’s an important balancing act when we negotiate fishing quotas. We must at the same time fight for both fishing, jobs and consideration for the environment and the sustainability of the sea. It is important that there is also something to fish in the future,’ he said.
As well as the Brexit situation, a temporary EU agreement with Norway is the next important step. Access to Norwegian waters is very important for Danish fishermen. But negotiations between the EU and Norway also hinge on agreement between the EU and the UK.
‘I have sent a clear signal to the Commission on the agreement between the EU and Norway. There is no time to waste. We must ensure that Danish fishermen have access to fishing in Norwegian waters from 1st January 2021,’ Rasmus Prehn said.
‘Although this does not untie the Gordian knot that Brexit has become for the fishing industry, it provides some relief,’ said, Anne Mette Bæk, director of Marine Ingredients Denmark and European Fishmeal.
‘Access to British waters is still the highest priority, but the Brexit negotiations have so far held up all other negotiations. This agreement provides hope that the EU can also secure a temporary agreement with Norway before the New Year, so that fishing in Norwegian waters is guaranteed,’ she said.