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EU/ Norway Talks Could Reach Agreement

Economics Politics

EU - The Scottish Fishermens Federation is optimistic that agreement will finally be reached this week between the EU and Norway on key shared whitefish and pelagic stocks in the North Sea and North-east Atlantic.

Three separate rounds of talks between the EU and Norway at the end of last year failed to reach agreement, resulting in the December EU Fish Council putting in place interim fisheries management measures in the North Sea for commercially vital species such as cod, haddock and whiting.

However, the SFF believe there is a good chance that a deal will be achieved with Norway at negotiations that start in Brussels on Monday (18 January), given that the EU and Faroe Islands reached agreement on shared stocks at talks that concluded last Friday (January 15). The main components of this agreement include a reduced transfer of blue whiting quota from the EU to the Faroes and a rollover in quotas for most of the main whitefish stocks.

Negotiators also held their ground on access arrangements for the Faroese to fish for mackerel in EU waters until there is a full Coastal States agreement, with the next meeting due to reconvene in March.

Norway and the Faroes have also reached their own separate agreement on shared stocks, further fuelling optimism that a deal with the EU will be hammered out in Brussels this week.

Ian Gatt, president of the Scottish Fishermen’s Federation, said: “We are fairly confident that an agreement between the EU and Norway will be reached this week, which will hopefully bring to an end the current period of uncertainty over the final quota levels for 2010. It will also enable Scottish boats to gain access to Norwegian waters and vice versa.”