The European Union and the United Kingdom agree on how much of the species they manage together may be caught this year. This creates clarity for their fishermen, who have been working with provisional catch limits for a few months since January. “This agreement, it is the member states by the European Commission, the quantities of fish to trade with the UK, and this is also the case of the Flemish fleet is crucial, as a fishery, there is a need for a sufficient quota of all the species, which is at the same time, collected to be” said Flemish minister of agriculture, Hilde Crevits.
The distribution of fish was one of the most difficult issues of the Brexit negotiations. Under the Brexit agreement, there was not enough time to agree on how much sole, lobster, turbot and other fish could be caught in 2021. Both parties therefore established provisional fishing opportunities.
“Now there is still an agreement on 75 shared fish species for 2021 and some deep-sea species for 2021 and 2022”, the European Commission says.
“This proves that two partners on both sides of the channel can conclude agreements and take steps forward if they work together”, responds responsible European Commissioner Virginijus Sinkevičius. Since this year, London and Brussels have had to make new annual agreements on the distribution of fish. In March, the UK, the EU and Norway already agreed on a distribution for the North Sea fish they manage together.
Flemish minister for Agriculture and Fisheries Hilde Crevits is pleased that Europe and the United Kingdom have now also reached an agreement on fisheries. “This agreement will form the basis for future annual negotiations. The negotiations have taken a long time, the sector has been living in uncertainty all along”, the minister said.
For the Flemish fishing fleet, according to Crevits, almost all annual catches depend on the stocks that have now been agreed, with the exception of fishing in the Bay of Biscay and in the Norwegian zone. “Specifically, it concerns sole, plaice, monkfish, squid and scallops as important species for our Flemish fleet,” she explains. “The sector now knows how many fish they can fish under sustainable management until the end of 2021. Fishermen can plan their activities so that they can land fresh fish all year round.” Crevits will review the agreement in detail in the coming days.