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UK and Norway sign historic fisheries agreement

By David Porter

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The UK has signed an historic fisheries agreement with Norway – the UK’s first since leaving the EU and first as an independent coastal state in 40 years.

The Fisheries Framework Agreement signed by Environment Secretary George Eustice and Norwegian Fisheries Minister Odd Emil Ingebrigtsen will mean that the UK and Norway hold annual negotiations on the issues of access to waters and quotas.

Environment Secretary George Eustice
Environment Secretary George Eustice

It is a significant step forward as the UK prepares to leave the EU’s Common Fisheries Policy at the end of December.

The agreement demonstrates the shared will of the UK and Norway to cooperate as independent coastal states and seek effective and sustainable management of their fisheries.

The treaty incorporates the same principles that the UK is currently seeking with the EU – a framework agreement which reflects the UK’s and Norway’s rights under international law.

Environment Secretary George Eustice said: “I am delighted that a Framework Fisheries Agreement with Norway has been successfully secured. "The agreement is testament to our commitment to acting as a cooperative independent coastal state, seeking to ensure a sustainable and a prosperous future for the whole of the UK fishing industry.

“I pay tribute to our Norwegian counterparts for the constructive approach they adopted throughout these negotiations, and we look forward to working with them closely in the coming years.”

Norwegian Fisheries and Seafood Minister Odd Emil Ingebrigtsen said: “This is a great day!

" I am pleased that we have reached an agreement with the United Kingdom, which will be an important coastal state and partner from January 2021.

“This agreement facilitates a good and solid fisheries cooperation for the future.

"The management of shared fish stocks is at its best when the coastal states agree on how this should happen.”

UK Government minister for Scotland, David Duguid, said:" We can look forward to many years of mutually beneficial agreements with Norway – worth millions to our economy.

“In the coming months the UK will begin similar talks with the EU as we take back control over our waters and ensure the best deal for Scotland’s vital fishing industry.”

North East region MSP Peter Chapman said: "It is the first of many positive developments for our fishermen after Brexit and it just goes to show what can be achieved in a spirit of cooperation.

“The agreement with Norway shows how constructive negotiations on fisheries can deliver results for Scotland’s fishermen.

“Fishing communities will be delighted and warmly welcome this productive step towards a brighter future."

Each year, the UK fishing fleet lands some £32 million worth of fish from Norwegian waters.

In previous years, bilateral negotiations with Norway were led by the European Commission on behalf of the UK and other Member States.

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