Hopes that ‘quota for access’ swap will encourage other states to fish within historic quota shares

Negotiations from Norway and the UK have confirmed a quota and access agreement for mackerel in 2023 that will see the two countries share 59% of the TAC of 782,066t – although disagreement still exists with other states, in particular Iceland and Faroe, about shares of the TAC.

The agreement includes access to UK waters for Norwegian vessels, a key demand from their negotiating team, allowing Norwegian skippers and processors to benefit from the improved condition, and consequently better prices, for mackerel as they migrate south and west into the UK EEZ.

“I am delighted that Norway and the United Kingdom have reached an agreement on the management of mackerel for 2023,” Norwegian fisheries minister Bjørnar Skjæran said after the deal had been struck. “It would have been nice if we could have reached an agreement that included the other coastal states as well, and I hope that the example set by Norway and the United Kingdom will encourage the other coastal states to follow suit in due course.”

The Norwegian TAC includes fish rolled over from 2022, when Norway was one of several states that awarded itself a larger share of the TAC than had been agreed in the past – based, it said, on changed distribution and migration of the stock.

Norway will also have the opportunity to fish 135,141t of mackerel in the UK EEZ. It agreed a 3.15% quota transfer to the UK as part of this new access arrangement.

A spokesperson for the Norwegian pelagic fishermen’s association, commenting on the continued impasse on the issue with other nations, said: “It is better to have a bilateral agreement when not all the coastal states can agree. After the summer, work will continue on an agreement between all the coastal states.

“It is important for all parties, and for the climate, that all countries agree on a joint agreement.”

This story was taken from the latest issue of Fishing News. For more up-to-date and in-depth reports on the UK and Irish commercial fishing sector, subscribe to Fishing News here or buy the latest single issue for just £3.30 here

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