Tensions between the EU and Norway are growing over the EU’s quota take in the Svalbard Zone controlled by Norway
It has been reported that Norway is close to open conflict with the EU as their fleet has fished 80 percent of the quota they themselves set, with the EU promising that Norwegian intervention will be met with hostile reactions.
The news comes after Norway received a response to a letter sent to the EU delegation on 04 May this year.
Norway had branded it unacceptable when the EU decided to allocate a quota of its own in the Svalbard Zone, with the Norwegians claiming it was contrary to Norway’s sovereign rights under the law of the sea.
The EU allocated itself a quota of 28,431 tonnes of cod in the zone. Traditionally, Norway claims, they have allocated quotas to third countries based on historic track records and has for 2021 allocated the EU a 17,885 tonne cod quota for the zone.
Norway established the economic zone in 1976, a fisheries protection zone around Svalbard in 1977, and later a fisheries zone around Jan Mayen in 1980.
The fisheries protection zone near Svalbard extends 200 nautical miles from the baseline near Svalbard.
It is Norway that establishes fisheries regulations in this area, and the purpose of the establishment of the zone was primarily to achieve control of fishing in the area and prevent overfishing.
Norway has for 2021 awarded the EU a cod quota in the fisheries protection zone of 17,885 tonnes. As a result of the UK’s exit from the EU, Norway believe that the UK’s historic fishing can no longer form the basis for a quota to the EU, and the UK’s historical fishing was therefore deducted when calculating the EU quota.
The EU states in its note that it is fully entitled under the Svalbard Treaty to set quotas for its own vessels in the Svalbard zone. They also point out that Norway allow Russian vessels to fish their quotas set by Russia in the zone, which they believe must also apply to EU vessels’ fishing, as well as to vessels from the UK.