Agreement between the EU and London on fishing quotas for 2022

As a dispute over fishing licenses continues to sour relations between London and Paris, the EU and the UK have agreed on fishing quotas in their shared waters for 2022, the European Commission has announced. , this Wednesday.

After long weeks of bitter talks since the beginning of November, the British and Europeans agreed at the beginning of the week on the “total allowable catches” authorized for 65 stocks, in the waters whose resources they jointly manage in the Atlantic and the North Sea. The text provides in particular for quota exchanges.

Stocks threatened by overfishing

The agreement “covers all shared waters and is based on the best scientific recommendations available. This is a step forward in the application of the post-Brexit trade treaty, and it brings predictability to our fishermen ”, welcomed the European Commissioner for Fisheries, Virginijus Sinkevicius. Worried that no compromise would be found before January 1, European fisheries ministers approved as a precaution last week “an emergency mechanism” extending for three months (January-March) the 2021 quotas to allow fishermen to continue their activity.

Environmental NGOs on Wednesday denounced the agreement reached on certain stocks already threatened with overfishing, Oceana recalling that only 43% of the 2021 quotas in the EU / UK shared waters were following the recommendations to guarantee the maintenance of stocks.

“Some resources, such as herring in the west of Scotland, whiting in the Irish Sea or cod in the Celtic Sea, will continue to be overexploited in 2022,” lamented Vera Coelho of Oceana. “The quotas set endanger already vulnerable stocks such as cod, often victims of accidental catches (…) As in the pre-Brexit era, priority is given to short-term commercial interests”, abounded Jenni Grossmann, from ClientEarth. .

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The question of supporting documents

Conversely, the Twenty-Seven welcome an agreement that they consider balanced: “The success which concludes these talks on annual quotas constitutes a very good precedent for our other negotiations” with London, observed the Slovenian minister. Joze Podgorsek, whose country holds the rotating EU presidency. The French and the British have been arguing for almost a year over the extent of the supporting documents that European fishermen must provide to obtain a license giving them the right to continue working in British waters.

Paris recently announced that it would ask the Commission to initiate litigation to obtain ultimate additional licenses. Meanwhile, the United Kingdom and Norway announced on Tuesday that they had concluded a bilateral fisheries agreement, the first between the two nations since Brexit, providing for reciprocal access to their waters and quota exchanges.

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