EU – Norway agreement on fishing limits for shared stocks in 2018 published

Published on December 8, 2017

The agreed record of the fisheries consultation between Norway and the European Union for 2018 was recently published. It contains some very interesting and relevant discussions and agreements.

At the bottom of the page are a few selected extracts to give some flavour of the detail. For fisheries managers and interested parties we think it is a must read document.

Commentary on the consultations by the campaign group Our Fish also contains some very salient points:

“It is outrageous that the EU is again subjecting the North Sea, Skagerrak and Kattegat to legalised overfishing, like some sort of horrible Groundhog Day for fish stocks”, said Our Fish Programme Director Rebecca Hubbard. “The Total Allowable Catch (TAC) for Cod in the Skagerrak has been set at unbelievable 88.17% above scientific advice for wanted catch, at 7,995 tonnes.”

“This figure includes quota top-up to take into account increased landings, despite the EU being aware that there is likely widespread non-compliance with the discard ban, due to inadequate monitoring and control. This situation clearly amounts to wilful double-overfishing by the EU and cannot be excused.”

“Our Fish finds it disturbing that while Norway again stated its concerns regarding the lack of technical measures and control of the discard ban by the EU – increasing its call for action to urgent – in reality the EU has done little to resolve the situation, and has even prevented Norway from attending meetings with the European Fisheries Control Agency (EFCA)” (See 12.3.6-8)


Extracts from the document:

“5.4 The Delegations recognised that discarding of fish represents a major waste of resources as well as a loss of potential income and is detrimental towards the rebuilding of fish stocks. Furthermore, they recognised that discarding implies that some catches are not recorded with the result that the scientific basis for the management decisions is weakened.”


“5.8 The level of adjustment is calculated for each stock and for each fisheries management zone by estimating the contribution of each EU fleet segment concerned by the expansion of the EU landing obligation in 2018 to levels of unwanted catches arising from forecast in the latest ICES advice. These contributions computed by EU fleet segment were derived from the last available landing and discards data, covering the years 2015 and 2016, as compiled by the STECF for each of the stocks, and by assuming that the discard rates of those EU fleet segments in 2018 would be nil.” (emphasis added)”


“5.12 The Norwegian Delegation took note of the explanation from the EU Delegation and agreed that this approach was acceptable for 2018. However, the Norwegian Delegation also expressed concern regarding the lack of supporting technical measures and incentives. A Norwegian ban on discarding was introduced decades ago and this experience clearly showed that additional technical measures and control measures in support of a landing obligation are needed. The Norwegian Delegation expressed the view that setting a TAC based on the assumptions of a perfect compliance with the landing obligation for fisheries previously associated with high levels of discards, might lead to fishing pressure well above Fmsy and no improvement in exploitation pattern. The concern includes loss of future yield as well as underreported catches leading to serious bias in the future stock assessments to be used for management decisions.”


“5.17.2 The Norwegian delegation pointed out that ICES in its basis for advice assumes discards in 2017 to be at 31% of total catch [of cod]..”….”In the catch option table for 2018, ICES present levels of unwanted catches to be around 33% of total catch. Technical measures aiming at reducing discards as well as increased control at sea is urgently needed.”