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EU and Norway Quota: a Story by Numbers

by the Fish Site Editor
16 December 2008, at 12:00am

EU - Norway and the European Commission, negotiating on behalf of the EU, reached a wide-ranging agreement on the management of their shared fisheries which represents a significant deepening of the already strong cooperation between the two parties.

The agreement includes the setting of fishing possibilities for 2009 for the seven main jointly managed fish stocks in the North Sea (cod, haddock, saithe, whiting, plaice, mackerel and herring), along with a number of associated conditions designed to reduce unproductive fishing pressure and encourage the recovery of depleted stocks, in particular cod. In particular, the EU has committed to minimise and ultimately eradicate discards in these fisheries, including consideration of a discard ban in the context of the next reform of the CFP.

The present agreement prepares this step by introducing a number of measures to enhance selectivity, including real-time area closures to protect juvenile and undersized fish concentrations, 'low cod gears' to prevent cod catches, and a ban on 'high grading' (the practice of discarding legally caught but less valuable fish in order to increase the final value of the total catch). Fishing opportunities are based on the latest available scientific advice.

In the case of North Sea cod, following the most recent advice from the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES), the parties agreed to raise the total allowable catch (TAC) for 2009 by 30 per cent. The TAC for plaice was increased by 11 per cent (in line with the EU management plan) while that for whiting was decreased by 15 per cent. Both parties agreed to continue to cooperate in securing continued responsible fisheries and ensuring the long-term conservation and sustainable exploitation of the marine resources for which they are responsible. There are currently four joint multi-annual plans in place for cod, haddock, saithe and herring, and revised versions of those for cod, saithe and herring were also agreed this year. Norway and the EU also agreed on a series of balanced exchanges of fishing possibilities in the North Sea and North-East Atlantic, giving extended opportunities to both Parties to fish in a sustainable manner on species of common interest.

Main outcome of EU-Norway fisheries negotiations for 2009 (in tonnes)

Species TACs 2008 TACs 2009 Norway European Union
Cod 22,152 28, 798 4,896 23,902
Haddock 46,444 42,110 8,685 33,425
Saithe 135,900 125,934 65,486 60,448
Whiting 17,850 15,173 1,517 13,656
Plaice 49,000 55,500 2,885 52,615
Mackerel 48,566 63,826 41,307 22,518
Herring 201,227 171,000 49,590 121,410

the Fish Site Editor