EU-Norway fish talks: Norwegian negotiators outfox EU

05-Dec-2016 @ 14:00

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EU-Norway fish talks: Norwegian negotiators outfox EU

Conservative Fisheries spokesman Ian Duncan MEP has criticised the EU for buckling to Norwegian demands over access to North Sea fisheries.

The outcome of the annual EU-Norway fish quota talks sees an increase in Norwegian quota for blue whiting next year, with no corresponding uplift for UK fishermen. Despite internal opposition from the UK and Ireland, the European Commission has signed a deal that gives 110,000 tonnes of blue whiting to Norway, increasing their access to Scottish waters.

However, there is better news on North Sea cod, with the EU quota increasing by 16.5%. The North Sea whiting quota rises by 17% and saithe by 53%. The final total allowable catch for North Sea herring represents a 7% decrease, while North Sea haddock will fall by 45%. However, the cut in quota for haddock is viewed as less drastic as fishermen are only expected to catch about 63% of the available quota for 2016.

Scotland MEP Mr Duncan said: "This is a mixed bag for Scottish fishermen, who have worked tirelessly to restore stocks to healthy levels.

"The Commission position over blue whiting is quite frankly baffling. However, what this shows is the strength of Norway as a negotiator outside the EU. In the coming years it will be the UK, Norway and the EU who will decide who can fish in the North Sea, and Norway has given us a shining example of how to strike a deal without the shackles of negotiating as one of 27.

"This bodes well for the future and getting the best deal possible for British fishermen once we have exited the failed Common Fisheries Policy."

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