Today, the EU concluded agreements with the UK and Norway, and bilaterally with Norway, securing valuable fishing opportunities for 2024 for the EU fleets and provide predictability for stocks in the Northeast Atlantic and the North Sea.
These agreements are important because the stocks negotiated with non-EU countries represent a vast majority of the stocks of interest for the EU.
Virginijus Sinkevičius, Commissioner for Environment, Oceans and Fisheries said:
The timely signature of these agreements will secure access to waters and important opportunities for EU fishers as from January 2024. While challenges remain, the successful and coordinated completion of this very complex process demonstrates how cooperation between the EU, the UK and Norway can benefit fishing communities and ensure the sustainable management of our shared stocks.
The trilateral arrangement between the EU, Norway and the United Kingdom on jointly managed fisheries stocks in the North Sea for 2024 establishes total allowable catches (TAC) over 915,000 tonnes, covering an EU quota of almost 415,000 tonnes of cod, haddock, saithe, whiting, plaice and herring.
The agreement on TACs includes an increase for cod, set below the maximum sustainable yield (MSY) advice to accommodate precautionary considerations for the southern sub-stock. TACs were set in line with the MSY advice for saithe and plaice and below the MSY advice for haddock and whiting to cater for their interaction with cod.
The EU, UK and Norway continued reviewing the management model for herring in 2024 and decided to set TACs in line with MSY.
They also agreed to maintain measures to protect North Sea cod by carrying over existing area closures.
In parallel, the EU and Norway concluded bilateral consultations for shared stocks in the North Sea, Skagerrak and quota exchanges.
The three bilateral arrangements relate to the exchange of quotas, mutual access to fishing in each other’s waters and quota setting in the Skagerrak and the Kattegat.
Both sides secured an ambitious balance of exchanges of fishing opportunities of major economic interest. Among other stocks, the EU will receive 9,983 tonnes of Arctic cod for 2024, while it will transfer 48,000 tonnes of blue whiting to Norway.
The EU will have access to catch up to 15,107 tonnes of Atlanto-Scandian herring in Norwegian waters. At the same time, Norway obtains access to Union waters to fish 150,000 tonnes of blue whiting.
The EU and Norway decided to implement measures to reduce fishing mortality for Western Baltic herring, which mixes with the North Sea herring in the Skagerrak and Eastern North Sea. Such measures include the restriction of catches in the Skagerrak.
The parties also signed the neighbouring arrangement covering the Swedish fishery in Norwegian waters of the North Sea.
The catch limits agreed bilaterally and trilaterally will be submitted for incorporation into the Fishing Opportunities Regulation for 2024, during the upcoming Council of EU fisheries Ministers on 10 and 11 December.
The EU and Norway will hold an in-year consultation during 2024 for Pandalus, for which the International Council for Exploration of the Sea (ICES) scientific advice does not align with the calendar year.
- Publication date
- 8 December 2023
- Directorate-General for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries