UK and Norway fail to reach fishing agreement

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The UK has failed to reach a post-Brexit agreement with Norway over the rights for UK vessels to access Norway’s sub-Arctic waters. 

With the UK leaving the European Common Fisheries Policy at the start of the year and now dealing directly with Norway, an agreement couldn’t be reached after the UK government’s ‘fair offer’ was rejected. 

Norway’s waters, known for cod catches worth some £32m in 2018, had been fair game for UK fleets for decades. 

However, as Norway is itself not an EU member state, the trade agreement with the EU didn’t cover a continuation of these rights. And, despite last year both agreeing to a system of cooperation post-Brexit, a deal couldn’t be reached despite weeks of talks. 

Jane Sandell, chief executive of UK Fisheries, said that the talks had failed to even maintain the current rights that have been in place for decades. 

She said: “In consequence, there will be no British-caught Arctic cod sold through chippies for our national dish.

“It will all be imported from the Norwegians, who will continue to sell their fish products to the UK tariff-free, while we are excluded from these waters. Quite simply, this is a disgrace and a national embarrassment.”

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A spokesperson from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said that agreements would only be reached if they were in the interest of the UK fishing industry. 

They said that: “We put forward a fair offer on access to UK waters and the exchange of fishing quotas, but we have concluded that our positions remain too far apart to reach an agreement this year,” they added.

“Norway is a key partner and we will continue to work with them over the course of the year.”

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