The UK’s Marine Management Organisation (MMO) has confirmed negotiations will need to end before Norwegian and Faroese vessels will be able to fish UK waters. Likewise, an agreement will need to be made with the regional fisheries management organistations of these territories in order for British fishermen to access the territorial waters of Norway and the Faroe Islands. On New Year’s Eve, the UK’s fishing administrations issued new licences for UK vessels that allowed them access to fish in all UK waters.
UK fisheries minister Victoria Prentis said: “For the first time in 40 years we enter into annual fisheries negotiations as an independent coastal state.
“As a responsible independent coastal state, we are taking measures to ensure that we fish sustainably.
“We want to ensure our fishermen can continue to operate smoothly while those annual negotiations take place.”
Norway’s fisheries minister Odd Emil Ingebrigtsen previously told the Norwegian Parliament: “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.
“Neither can we expect Norwegian vessels to get access to their zones before a deal is in place?
“We’ve been telling the EU for a long time that we needed a three-way deal, and the ball is therefore now in the EU’s court.
“It is not a given that these (fisheries) talks can be concluded before the new year.”
In the end, a deal with the EU was agreed – but separate deals with states outside the bloc, including Norway, are still underway.
Control of Britain’s waters was a major motivation for the Brexit victory in 2016.
In an immediate show of sovereignty this week, the UK announced a ban of pulse fishing in their waters.
On Thursday – just hours before the UK’s full departure from the EU – the UK Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) confirmed EU and English vessels would not be able to take part in pulse fishing.
The Government department wrote: “With effect from 23:00 tonight, pulse trawling by EU and English vessels in UK waters will no longer be licensed.”
David Jones, deputy chairman of the Conservative-led and Brexit-focused European Research Group (ERG), hailed the move from DEFRA. The MP for Clwyd West wrote on Twitter: “Excellent that @DefraGovUK has banned pulse fishing in UK waters from 11:00 pm yesterday.
“A good example of the environmental, conservation and welfare improvements we can make after leaving the EU.
“Now let’s stop live animal exports.”
From January 1 of this year, both UK and EU vessels must not fish in each other’s waters without an amended license.
The UK’s Marine Management Organisation (MMO) is acting as the UK Single Issuing Authority (SIA) for distributing licences for UK vessels to fish non-UK waters and also for foreign vessels’ wanting access to British waters.
The fishing territory of each state is designated as being 12 to 200 nautical mile zones from land.