The EU and the United Kingdom concluded today the negotiations on an agreement in principle setting out catch limits for jointly managed fish stocks for 2021. This was finalised in a phone call this afternoon between Commissioner for Environment, Oceans and Fisheries, Virginijus Sinkevičius, and UK Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, the Rt Hon George Eustice MP.
Today’s agreement closes the first ever annual consultations on fishing opportunities between the EU and the UK under the terms of the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA). The successful conclusion of the negotiations, which started in January, creates a strong basis for continued EU-UK cooperation in the area of fisheries.
Today’s agreement in principle on the management of key shared stocks secures the fishing rights of both the EU and the UK fleets in both the EU and the UK waters until the end of 2021, as foreseen under the TCA. It establishes the total allowable catches (TAC) for 75 shared fish stocks for 2021, as well as for some deep-sea stocks for 2021 and 2022. It also provides clarity on access limits for non-quota species. The signing of the agreement, expected in the coming days, will also enable both parties to engage in quota exchanges.
Commissioner for Environment, Oceans and Fisheries, Virginijus Sinkevičius said: “Today we reached a deal with the UK on fishing opportunities under the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement. This agreement provides predictability and continuity for our fleets with definitive TACs for the remainder of the year. This is good for fishermen and women, our coastal communities and our ports, as well as for the sustainable use of our marine resources. This also proves that two partners on both sides of the Channel can find agreements and move forward if they work together.”
The agreement is based on the best available scientific advice on the state of fish stocks, as provided by the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea. It takes into account important sustainability and management principles, such as maximum sustainable yield and the precautionary approach, which are central to both the EU’s Common Fisheries Policy and to the fisheries provisions of the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement.
Next, the Commission will shortly propose to the Council to incorporate today’s agreement into EU legislation.