EU calls on Norway, Russia on polar cod
The European Union has expressed serious concerns that Norway and Russia, without seeking to cooperate with any of the other relevant stakeholders, are taking decisions that lead to unsustainable exploitation, as the scientific advice of 2021 , provided independently by ICES, indicate that the deterioration of the cod stock is faster than expected.
According to the EU, scientists advise reducing catches by 43% in 2022 to protect arctic cod, in line with the best available scientific advice for sustainable management. Contrary to this, the Russian-Norwegian management plan, drawn up without the participation of international stakeholders, allows a reduction of only 20%, which the EU sees as a significant shortfall compared to scientific advice.
“Norway and Russia have chosen to deviate from the international gold standard of sustainable management, the principle of maximum sustainable yield (MSY), by managing this stock on the basis of their bilateral management plan,” said commented a representative of the EU.
“Even more worrying, from 2017 to 2020, the Arctic cod quotas set by Norway and Russia even ignored the level provided for in their bilateral management plan by permanently setting higher quotas.”
The EU calls on Norway and Russia to cooperate on the management of this stock, with all parties concerned, with the aim of agreeing on a sustainable and non-discriminatory management of Arctic cod.
“While the EU and Norway have different interpretations of the Treaty of Paris governing the management of fisheries around the Svalbard archipelago, for more than 35 years, together we have ensured stable management of this stock”, continued the EU spokesperson.
“As a testament to this fruitful cooperation, the EU would have expected Norway to engage with the EU before adopting a radical change from previous quota management and allocation practices.”
The recent decisions by Norway and Russia are seen as leading to increased pressure on this important fish stock and discriminatory treatment of EU fishing operators, who have their long-standing rights unrecognized by Norwegian authorities, for the benefit of Norway and Russian fishing industries.
“The approach of setting fishing quotas by other states, without involving those states, is contrary to international law of the sea; moreover, setting fishing quotas above the maximum sustainable yield risks further deterioration of the fish stocks concerned, ”says the EU.