Norge krever i en henvendelse til samtlige EU-land, kompensasjon for utestengelsen av norske makrellfiskere fra EU-sonen.
Det blir i henvendelsen vist til at utestengelsen er et brudd på den bilaterale avtalen mellom Norge og EU, noe som medfører alvorlige økonomiske konsekvenser for norske fiskere, melder Fiskebåtredernes Forbund (Fiskebåt) på sine nettsider.
I henvendelsen fra Fiskeri- og kystdepartementet heter det også at fiskeriforhandlingene med EU i høst, om en avtale for 2010, blir ekstremt følsomme og vanskelige, hvis EU opprettholder sitt standpunkt i makrellsaken.
Dette kan eventuelt få negative konsekvenser for fiskerinæringen både i EU og Norge heter det i henvendelsen. Norge ber derfor om at EU gjenåpner det norske fisket av makrell i EU-sonen.
I henvendelsen går departementet nøye gjennom forhistorien og dokumenterer Norges rett til å fiske 153.635 tonn makrell i EU-sonen.
Videre går Norge i henvendelsen nøye gjennom både den aktuelle avtalen og forhistorien.
Norge viser blant annet til at EUs fiskeflåte i perioden fra år 2000 til 2008, fisket i gjennomsnitt nær 200 000 tonn årlig i norske farvann. Norske fartøyer fisket samlet i gjennomsnitt 320 000 tonn per år i EUs farvann i samme periode. Men disse mengdene gjenspeiler ikke nødvendigvis fangstverdien, da fangstene består av mer enn 80 ulike arter, og ca 70 prosent av de norske fangstene i EUs farvann er kolmule.
Les brevet nedenfor.
Reference is made to the Note Verbale from the Mission of Norway to the Directorate General for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries of 2 October 2009 (NO 47/2009), which explains the Norwegian position on the EC closure of Norwegian mackerel fishery in Community waters. Norway and the EC consulted on the matter 7 October without reaching an agreement.
In this context, Norway would like to point out the following:
According to the Agreed Record of Conclusions of Fisheries Consultations between Norway and the European Community for 2009, Norway has a flexibility limit of 100 000 tonnes in the entire ICES Division IVa, including the Community Zone. This follows from table 2, footnote 4 to the Agreed Record, and comes in addition to the Norwegian quota of 53 365 tonnes.
The flexibility limits of the Agreed Record have their historic origin in the fact that total Norwegian fishing possibilities derived from a “Northern” component as well as a share of the TAC fixed for the North Sea. Thus, the entire quantity from the north may be fished in the entire ICES IVa area, as well as the fact that the entire Norwegian North Sea quantity may be fished in IVa. Furthermore, Norway has no access in the soutern parts of the North Sea (ICES IVb,c). This restriction does not apply to the EC.
The flexibility limit of the Community is 105 000 tonnes in ICES Division IVa, according to table 2 to the Agreed Record. However, the footnote relating to EC explicitly limits the 105 000 tonnes to the Community zone. Footnote 6 reads: “May be fished in Community zone in ICES Division IVa”.
This is contrary to the Norwegian flexibility limit that contains no such constraint. Footnote 4 relating to Norway’s flexibility limit says: “May be fished in ICES Division IVa”. This distinction between the footnotes is crucial and the result of careful drafting. The footnotes grant Norway a zonal access of 100 000 tonnes in the entire ICES Division IVa, while the EC’s flexibility is limited to its own waters. These provisions have been included in every agreed record since 1994 and relate to the fact that according to EC relative stability for mackerel, certain EC-members are restricted to fish west of 4 degrees West, whereas other EC-members had to fish in the EC zone in the North Sea (area IV) Thus, the primary function of the EC flexibility limit of the Agreed Record is to provide for mackerel fishing of the western member states in the EC zone in the North Sea and for the North Sea EC members to fish west of 4 degrees West.
Norway maintains its right, according to the Agreed Record for 2009, to a total access quota of all together 153 365 tonnes of mackerel in area IVa, including Community waters, and considers the closure of the Norwegian mackerel fisheries in Community waters as a violation of the Agreed Record of Conclusions of Fisheries Consultations between Norway and the European Community for 2009, and would once again urge the EC to reopen the Norwegian mackerel fishery in EC waters.
EC member states benefit from a whole range of quotas and access arrangements providing for a flexible and profitable fishery.
The bilateral agreement consists of joint management of shared stocks, access to each Parties waters, quota exchange arrangements as well as other issues. The agreement is not necessarily balanced when it comes to the individual elements, and thus it is inappropriate to consider the mackerel issue independently of the entire agreement.
In the period from year 2000 to 2008 vessels from the European Community fished close to 200 000 tonnes as a yearly average in Norwegian waters. Norwegian vessels averaged at 320 000 tonnes per annum in Community waters in the same period. These quantities do not necessarily reflect the catch values, as the catches are made up of more than 80 different species and approximately 70 percent of the Norwegian catches in Community waters is blue whiting.
Norway would point out that the closure of the Norwegian mackerel fishery has grave economic consequences for our fishermen. Norway is therefore compelled to demand compensation for this violation of the Agreement. If the EC maintains its position on this issue in the negotiations on fisheries arrangements for 2010 that will take place this autumn, the Parties will be faced with an additional element of extremely sensitive and difficult negotiations, with potentially negative consequences for the fishing industry in both the European Community and Norway. Norway would therefore once again urge the EC to reopen the Norwegian mackerel fishery.