The Government said these discussions mark the start of a new arrangement between the UK and Norway, in which both parties permit some access to each other’s waters and exchange a number of fish quotas in the North Sea and the Arctic.
The agreement will see the UK fishing industry gain access to 30,000 tonnes of whitefish stocks, such as cod, haddock and hake, in the North Sea.
Norway will allocate the UK 6,550 tonnes of cod around Svalbard. In total, that means the UK can fish over 7,000 tonnes of cod in the arctic, estimated to be worth around £16m. This is 1,500 tonnes more than in 2021.
Since leaving the EU fishing access rights to UK waters have been one of the most disputed, especially with French fishermen. In 2020 UK-based fish processors have pushed for the Government to close trade deals with countries outside the EU, such as Norway and Iceland.
The Government said this agreement on mutual access would allow respective fleets more flexibility to target the stocks in the best condition throughout the fishing year, “supporting a more sustainable and economically viable fishing industry.”
Fisheries minister Victoria Prentis said: “I am pleased to announce that we have concluded bilateral negotiations between the UK and Norway, securing an agreement on fishing arrangements for 2022 including the establishment of a mutual North Sea waters access zone.
“This will provide fishing opportunities for the UK fleet and it ensures a strong balance that will benefit both our fishing industry and the protection of our marine environment. ”
Prentis said that Norway is an extremely close partner of the UK, and the Government would be looking to build on this partnership.
The two delegations have also agreed to ensure that relevant information and data is exchanged to promote effective fisheries management and control and enforcement efforts in the North Sea.
This agreement does not impact the UK’s bilateral negotiations with the EU. Those negotiations continue and are focussed on the setting of total allowable catches (TACs) for bilateral UK-EU stocks and a range of related technical measures.