Brexit: Sandell hits out at ‘disgraceful’ lack of Norway deal
And Germany’s fishing industry has branded Norway “self-serving” – while appealing to Brussels to intervene, with one expert saying: “You cannot accept this.” The UK’s departure has prompted Oslo to unilaterally cut the EU’s fishing quota for cod and is aiming to do likewise with mackerel in a move which Norway’s Fiskeribladet website estimates could be worth an additional £100million.
Concerns over the knock-on effect their approach will have were outlined in a statement issued by the German Fisheries Association yesterday.
This warned: “Because the fish stock to be distributed is not growing, someone has to foot the bill for the self-serving behaviour of the Norwegians.
“It cannot be that the EU will accept that.”
Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson
The statement warned: “Since the total catches do not increase in the context of sustainable management, this would result in a permanent reduction in the EU’s fishing opportunities.”
The GFA fears an escalation by the end of August at the latest “because the EU fishermen from Germany, Spain, Portugal, France and Poland would by then have exhausted the quota that Norway still wants to grant them”, the GFA explained.
It added: “If the EU does not defend the legitimate rights of EU citizens in this situation, there is a risk of permanent losses of fishing rights with a total value of several hundred million euros per year.”
There is even a risk of ships from all five EU countries mentioned above being barred from Norway waters.
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Norway boats fish for cod in the Arctic
Speaking last year, the country’s Fisheries Minister, Odd Emil Ingebrigtsen, said: “If we do not get a deal by January 1, we will not open Norway’s economic fishing zones to vessels from the EU and Britain.
“Neither can we expect Norwegian vessels to get access to their (the EU’s and Britain’s) zones before a deal is in place.”
Such a ban has not yet transpired – but remains a possibility.
Germany’s fishing industry employs 40,000 people and lands more than over 1.2 million metric tons of fish annually.
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Kirkella, moored up in Hull
Erna Solberg, Norway’s PM
Chancellor Angela Merkel is a member of the Bundestag for Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, one of the German regions most heavily reliant on fishing.
The failure to strike a post-Brexit fishing deal with Norway – which has never been a member of the EU – also has serious implications for the UK fishing industry.
Kirkella, a distant water trawler belonging to Hull-based UK Fisheries, is currently tied up in port because it is not currently permitted to operate in Norwegian waters.
Speaking in April, CEO Jane Sandell said: “This is a very black day for Britain.
European fisheries mapped
“George Eustice owes our crews and the Humberside region an explanation as to why Defra was unable even to maintain the rights we have had to fish in Norwegian waters for decades, never mind land the boasts of a ‘Brexit Bonus’, which has turned to disaster.
“In consequence, there will be no British-caught Arctic cod sold through chippies for our national dish – it will all be imported from the Norwegians, who will continue to sell their fish products to the UK tariff-free while we are excluded from these waters.
“Quite simply, this is a disgrace and a national embarrassment.
“The UK wanted to be an independent coastal state, but the only beneficiaries of Brexit will turn out to be a handful of Scottish pelagic fishing barons.
Fishing boats in Northern Germany
“Everyone else – including much of the UK domestic fleet and the people who work in it, will lose out.”
Jeremy Percy, chairman of the New Under Tens Fisherman’s Association (NUFTA), told Express.co.uk at the time: “‘Dog’s breakfast’ sums it up really.
“The whole EU Exit with regard to fisheries has been a complete debacle from beginning to end.
“Our negotiators have yet to secure a long term deal with the EU on quotas or with Norway.”
(Additional reporting by Monika Pallenberg)