The Fisheries Ministers of the European Union have reached an agreement this Tuesday to extend until July 31 of this year the provisional fishing opportunities of the ‘stocks’ shared with the United Kingdom pending an agreement with the British authorities to set the final installments that could arrive in the next two weeks.
“After several hours of negotiation, this Council of Ministers has reached the objective of approving the provisional quotas until July 31 for the resources shared with the United Kingdom”, announced in a press conference the Minister of the Sea of Portugal, Ricardo Serrao , which this semester holds the rotating presidency of the EU.
Since the United Kingdom left the EU, Brussels and London have to negotiate each year the fishing opportunities for a hundred stocks whose management is shared. Of special interest to Spain They are, for example, roosters, monkfish and hake caught in the waters of the Great Sun.
As they have not yet managed to reach an agreement on this year’s, the EU has decided to allocate provisional quotas for each of the ‘stocks’ and thus allow its fleet to continue fishing while Brussels and London agree on the final quotas.
The first contingency plan contemplated a provisional period until March 31 and, although the consultations between Brussels and London could end soon, those responsible for Fisheries of the Twenty-seven have agreed to extend the provisional solution until July 31.
The extension, however, picks up some changes. Instead of taking as a reference catches allowed in 2020 (the one used in the first quarter), the Community fleet will be able to fish until August 58.33% of what the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) had recommended for the whole year.
Spain considers that it is a “positive” agreement because the “sensitivities” with which the delegation led by the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Luis Planas, arrived at the meeting are “perfectly addressed”, according to sources from his department have explained.
Spain, in particular, has managed to maintain bream fishing opportunities. Another concern of the Government centered on monkfish and rooster caught in the West of Scotland and the Celtic Sea. very seasonal populations and whose fishing is concentrated in the first half of the year.
Finally, the agreement reached between the ministers does not raise the maximum percentage of catches for these species, but it does include a declaration in which Brussels commits to apply some “flexibility” and increase fishing opportunities if the need arises in a specific population, the same sources have explained.
This solution seeks not “interfere” in the negotiation with the United Kingdom, which could be concluded in the next two weeks, as the European Commission has transferred to the capitals of the bloc during these two days of meeting.
In fact, the Commissioner for the Environment, Oceans and Fisheries, Virginijus Sinkevicius, stressed that the agreement on provisional quotas gives Brussels “time” to continue negotiating with London and has hoped that the provisional quotas that the ministers have extended will have “a very short life”.
“My hope is that this agreement will have a short life and we can replace it with definitive quotas after reaching an agreement with the United Kingdom,” said the Lithuanian commissioner, who later showed himself “optimistic” in the face of a “quick” pact with the British authorities.
The Community Executive believes that it could seal the deal with London in the next two weeks. If true, the EU Fisheries Ministers will replace the provisional quotas that have been extended by the definitive ones at their meeting scheduled for the end of April.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.