Norway limits port access for Russian fishing fleet
Norway has banned Russian fishing vessels from entering its ports with the exception of three sites at Kirkenes, Tromso and Batsfjord, where local customs and police will conduct checks, Oslo announced on Thursday.
“We have closely monitored Russian activity in Norwegian waters and Norwegian ports to avoid Norway becoming a transit country,” Foreign Minister Anniken Huitfeldt told reporters.
Norwegian authorities have argued that the decision was made to prevent the use of fishing vessels for “illegal purposes.” The move comes despite previous claims by Norwegian fisheries minister Bjornar Skjæran, who said in March that it was “absolutely fundamental for Norwegian interests to take care of fisheries cooperation with Russia.”
So far, despite pressure from Brussels, Norway has been the only country in Europe not to join an EU ban on fishing vessels from Russia. Until recently, Russian fishing and research vessels were able to sail through Norwegian waters unimpeded.
The countries share the Barents Sea and split quotas for cod fishing roughly equally. In 2022, the limit for cod was estimated at 708,480 tons, with the Norwegian share at about 321,605 tons. Russia and Norway were the first countries to introduce a quota system to control cod population, and together the countries have managed to make cod stock the largest and most sustainable in the world.
Russia has repeatedly claimed that in the long term, a port refusal would be “devastating” not only for mutual cooperation, but could also put resources in the Barents Sea and the Norwegian Sea at great risk.
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