A new set of agreements between Norway and the UK opens up an estimated €1billion in fishing opportunities for the EU country, the European Commission has said.
The UK meanwhile has secured an estimated £970million in the deal. It comes after years of haggling over post-Brexit fishing arrangements which have left hundreds of UK fishermen “betrayed” – but the Government says the new deal for 2024 provides more for UK fishermen than it would have done were we still in the bloc.
The new deal on fishing in the North-East Atlantic and North Sea forms a tripartite agreement on jointly managed stocks between the EU, Norway and the UK – in addition to distinct agreements with Norway and the UK. The agreement sets out 85 Total Allowable Catches (TACs) of more than 130,000 tonnes for UK fishermen and 388,000 tonnes for the EU fleet.
Responding to news of the deal Lia Nici, Conservative MP for Great Grimsby, told Express.co.uk: “The reality is that year on year to 2026 Brexit means we gradually take back control of all of our fish stocks for the governments and fish companies to negotiate. I met with Christian Marr last week whose company Jubilee Fishing Co. sails two trawlers out of Grimbsy. He is happy with the increasing quota and the ability to trade quota directly with other fishing companies, something that I secured from DEFRA in 2020.”
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The deal covers over 915,000 tonnes of cod, haddock, saithe, whiting, plaice and herring. They operate in line with the MSY – the maximum sustainable yield for a fish stock setting out the highest possible annual catch that can be sustained over time.
Express.co.uk previously revealed how the UK could storm ahead of the EU with its fishing regulations to end “untold suffering”.
Fisheries Minister Mark Spencer said: “These significant deals give UK fishermen access to important fish stocks worth £970million and take advantage of our position outside the EU to independently negotiate in our fishing fleets best interest. They are based on the latest scientific advice and support a sustainable, profitable fishing sector for years to come while continuing to protect our marine environment and vital fishing grounds.”
North Sea cod will also be protected under the measures. The Department for Food, Environment and Rural Affairs (Defra) said UK fishermen will have access to 130,000 tonnes of fish for 2024, worth up to £340million.
This adds to 330,000 tonnes, worth around £270million, from catch limits that had been sorted earlier in the year with coastal States in the northeast Atlantic.
The deal is said to be important for the EU, as the stocks negotiated with non-EU countries make up a large majority of the stocks of interest. The deal will come as welcome news for British fishermen, who for years have felt betrayed by Brexit – with more than nine in 10 voting for Leave, many saying they believed the exit from the bloc would give them control over their fishing waters.
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Former Brexit Party MEP Ben Habib told Express.co.uk in 2021, after an earlier deal with Norway collapsed: “The Government has failed our coastal communities. They were used by the Prime Minister and Michael Gove to win the referendum.
“They were used by them again to win the general election. As soon as those electoral victories were in the bag, these two turned their backs on them.”
Defra says that now as a result of quota share uplifts agreed in the Trade and Cooperation Agreement, the UK has up to 120,000 tonnes more quota from the 2024 negotiations than it would have received as an EU Member State.
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