Norway has branded as unacceptable the EU’s decision to allocate a quota of its own in the Svalbard zone, claiming that this move is contrary to Norway’s sovereign rights under the law of the sea.
‘Norway protests against the EU’s unilateral quota allocation for the fisheries protection zone off Svalbard. This is completely unacceptable behaviour by the EU. Norway has the exclusive right to regulate fishing in the fisheries protection zone off Svalbard, and only Norway can allocate EU fishing quotas in the area,’ said Minister of Fisheries and Seafood Odd Emil Ingebrigtsen following a meeting with EU Environment, Maritime and Fisheries Commissioner Virginijus Sinkevičius.
‘For 2021, the EU has allocated itself a quota of 28,431 tonnes of cod in the fisheries protection zone. This is contrary to Norway’s sovereign rights under the law of the sea, and we take the EU’s unilateral quota setting very seriously. I have therefore made it clear to the EU that any fishing beyond Norway’s quota allocations will be an illegal fishery and will be enforced by the Coast Guard in the usual way.’
Since the establishment of the 200-nautical mile fisheries protection zone around Svalbard in 1977, Norway has allocated quotas to third countries based on historic track records, and has for 2021 allocated the EU a 17,885 tonne cod quota for the zone.
According to a statement by the Ministry of Fisheries and Seafood, following the UK’s departure from the European Union, UK historic catches can not form the basis of any quota allocated to the EU, and historic UK catch levels were therefore deducted as the 2021 EU quotas were calculated.
Negotiations continue between the EU, the UK and Norway over fisheries agreements for 2021.
Odd Emil Ingebrigtsen said that Commissioner Sinkevičius has agreed that these negotiations should now be accelerated so that agreements can be put in place for 2021.