Norway and Britain reached a bilateral fisheries agreement on Wednesday, ahead of Britain’s exit from the European Union’s single market at the end of the year.
While Norway is not a member of the EU, it is integrated into the bloc’s common market and must negotiate separate post-Brexit trade relations with Britain.
‘Important Milestone’The UK’s National Federation of Fishermen’s Organisation (NFFO) welcomed the treaty saying in a statement that the development is “another important milestone towards the UK’s future as an independent coastal state.”
Though the deal provides a general framework, much of the detail of how the two countries will work together will be decided in annual fisheries agreements, NFFO said.
“This is the established pattern of how coastal states with shared stocks work with each other to ensure that fish stocks are harvested responsibly and sustainably,” NFFO Chief Executive Barrie Deas said.
Constructive ApproachNegotiations between Britain and the EU have stumbled over fisheries, fair competition, and how to settle disputes.
However, Environment Secretary George Eustice, who signed the agreement for the UK, praised Norway for its “constructive approach” to negotiations leading up to the deal.
Meanwhile, Norwegian Fisheries and Seafood Minister Odd Emil Ingebrigtsen, who signed the agreement for Norway, said via the UK government’s statement that from next year the UK would be an important coastal state and partner.
“This is a great day,” he said. “The management of shared fish stocks is at its best when the coastal states agree on how this should happen.”
Britain formally left the EU in January this year, but London and Brussels are seeking a new trade deal before a status-quo transition arrangement ends in December.