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11 Dec, 2020 14:55

EU risks losing access to Norwegian waters by New Year, says minister as Brexit fishing debacle escalates

EU risks losing access to Norwegian waters by New Year, says minister as Brexit fishing debacle escalates

Norway’s fisheries and seafood minister has warned Brussels and London that Norwegian waters will be closed to fishermen from the EU and UK unless a tripartite agreement on fishing is reached before January 1.

Speaking on Friday, Minister of Fisheries and Seafood Odd Emil Ingebrigtsen said EU and UK fishing vessels will no longer have access to Norway’s fish-rich waters unless a deal between all three parties is reached before the end of the month. 

“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,” Ingebrigtsen told parliament, adding that negotiations had been delayed due to ongoing Brexit talks. 

“Neither can we expect Norwegian vessels to get access to their [the EU’s and Britain’s] zones before a deal is in place,” he said. 

In September, the UK and Norway signed a breakthrough deal on reciprocal fishing rights, but Ingebrigtsen claims this deal cannot come into effect unless a trilateral agreement is reached with the EU. 

“It is not a given that these [fisheries] talks can be concluded before the new year,” he said. 

Norway is not part of the EU but negotiates reciprocal agreements on matters such as fisheries. 

Like British waters, Norway’s fisheries are some of the richest in the world and represent a very attractive prospect to European vessels.  

Also on rt.com EU announces contingency measures for no-deal Brexit, including a demand for continued access to UK fisheries

EU access to UK fisheries is an area of disagreement between Brussels and UK negotiators in talks over a post-Brexit trade deal, with London insisting it should have control over its own waters.

Without a deal, EU fishermen will lose access to UK fishing waters on January 1.

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