HC Deb 22 March 1994 vol 240 cc120-1W
Mr. Austin Mitchell

To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what provision is being made in the common fisheries policy aspect of negotiations with Norway for entry into the European Union for(a) national negotiations with third parties, (b) Norwegian enforcement of catches by other EU countries, (c) Norwegian allocation of catches to other EU countries and (d) limited derogations from the common fisheries policy principles of access to all EU members.

Mr. Jack

The answers to the hon. Member's questions are as follows:

  1. (a) Norway has been authorised, in close association with the Commission, to maintain its fisheries agreement with Russia and to establish total allowable catches at north Norway for a transitional period until 1 July 1998.
  2. (b) North of 62 deg north, Norway can maintain its current control system for a transitional period of three years, in a way which does not discriminate between member states.
  3. (c) Cohesion countries will benefit from adjustments to the European Economic Area provisions and from a transfer of Norway's cod quota in the North West Atlantic Fisheries Organisation's Division 3M.
  4. (d) Before 1 January 1995 the Council will discuss and decide upon adjustments to the measures relating to the conditions of access to waters and resources referred to in the Act of Accession of Spain and Portugal and these adjustments will enter into force from 1 January 1996. Until then, equivalent constraints to those to which Spain and Portugal are subject will apply to Norway in certain EU waters.

Mr. Harris

To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if she will make a statement on the outcome of the negotiations for Norway's accession to the European Union as they relate to fishing.

Mr. Jack

The outcome of the negotiations on fisheries between the European Union and Norway, which were concluded on 16 March, was satisfactory to the United Kingdom.

The United Kingdom should receive some additional 2,000 tonnes of north-east Arctic cod quota in 1997, if Norwegian stocks rise as predicted. Increased flexibility over where the western mackerel stock may be caught will also benefit United Kingdom fishermen.

The common fishery policy rules applying within the waters of the Twelve generally, and the special rules applying to Spain and Portugal under their accession treaty, are unchanged by the agreement. Reciprocal arrangements for access to Community and Norwegian resources, including the setting of total allowable catches and quotas, fully respect the principle of relative stability. There will be no disruption to member states' shares of existing TACs and no increase in fishing effort.

The negotiations encompassed the following main topics:

(i) Access to Waters

The areas to which Norway and the EU grant each other access are unchanged by the agreement.

For so long as Spain and Portugal are subject to the restraints on their access to the waters of the other 10 member states which are set out in their accession treaty, Norway will be subject to equivalent constraints in certain EU waters.

The Council will decide, by 1 January 1995, on the rules which will apply to Spain and Portugal from 1 January 1996.

(ii) Access to Resources

EU access to Norwegian resources and Norwegian access to EU waters will be governed strictly by relative stability, generally with a five-year track record. However, Norway has conceded that one third of the western mackerel stock may be fished in any of the three management areas, giving increased flexibility, inter alia, to United Kingdom fishermen.

Norway has agreed to make additional quantities of cod available to the "cohesion" countries—effectively, for this purpose, Spain, Portugal and Ireland. This will predominantly be achieved by phasing in from 1995 the quota agreed in the EEA negotiations for 1997; by transferring 1,000 tonnes of Norwegian cod for NAFO area 3M in the north-west Atlantic, and by the purchase of fishing opportunities from third countries.

(iii) Management North of 62 deg north

Norway has a special management scheme and rigorous controls in north Norwegian waters as well as a bilateral agreement with Russia, much of which she has been authorised to maintain until I July 1998. During the transition period the Community will be examining how best to incorporate Norwegian experience and practices into the CFP.

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