Gone are the days when Norway landed eight times more fish in UK waters, says LIA NICI | Express commentary | Comment
It is clear that such an agreement should be advantageous for the United Kingdom. The UK presented a very reasonable and balanced offer, which included both access and quota trading, and which sought to address imbalances under the previous EU-Norway deal. Under these agreements, Norway landed around eight times more fish in UK waters than the UK caught in Norwegian waters.
For example, in 2019 the UK caught £ 31million of fish in Norwegian waters, while Norway caught £ 249million of fish in UK waters.
Norway wanted access to our waters but was not prepared to allow British vessels to fish in Norwegian waters. They didn’t want any changes or worse conditions for the UK. There was no way for the British government to agree to this. We want a deal with our Norwegian friends, but it must be a good deal.
We hear a lot about the Kirkella trawler. The truth is, the Kirkella is a Dutch and Icelandic freezer trawler. It employs the bare minimum of British personnel necessary to obtain a British flag. Foreign owned vessels have no right to UK fishing quotas.
It is not true that the Kirkella should be tied up until an agreement has been reached with Norway. The Kirkella still has access to a large fishing quota in Norwegian waters around Svalbard.
There are also times when the Kirkella is not working in order to maintain sustainable stocks in the North Sea.
The quota that Norway had has now been returned to the UK and is available to UK fishing companies. Some companies are already taking advantage.
The EU and other fishing nations must understand that our fishing quota will increase and decrease theirs. We are again an independent coastal state.
I’m sure there will eventually be an agreement with Norway. This must be an improvement compared to the situation when we were subject to the EU’s Common Fisheries Policy
Likewise, I am convinced that the fishing industry, with its undeniable talents and skills, will rise to the occasion in this new environment.