Danish fishermen call for post-Brexit access to Norwegian waters

Danish fishermen call for post-Brexit access to Norwegian waters
File photo: Andrew Kelly/Reuters/Ritzau Scanpix
While Britain and the EU eventually came to post-Brexit terms on fish, their vessels have been barred from Norwegian waters. Yet Norwegian fish continues to be offloaded at Danish harbours.

Danish fishermen are now calling on Copenhagen to exclude Norway’s access to the EU fisheries market through Denmark. A measure they hope may persuade Norway to allow access to its waters.

“In Denmark, which they use as a transit country, we ought to have some buttons to push in order to put pressure on them,” said fishing captain John Glanz Christensen to Danish public broadcaster DR.

Norway has withheld permits to EU and British fishing vessels since the new Brexit agreement came into force on January 1st. Oslo wants a deal with the EU and Britain outlining a framework for sustainable management of the shared fish stock in the North Sea, before making separate agreements on specific quotas.

And while protracted three-way talks are ongoing between Norway, the EU and Britain, Danish fishing vessels have been stuck at port, Reuters reported last week.

“It is vital for the Danish fishing industry to gain access,” president of the industry organisation Danish Fishermen, Svend-Erik Andersen, told the news agency, referring to the Norwegian waters.

Early warning

The Norwegian government, however, warned about the potential outcome already in December.

“If we do not have a deal in place by January 1st, we will not open Norway’s Economic Zone for fishing vessels from the EU and the UK. Nor do we expect Norwegian fishermen to be granted access to their zones,” Norway’s Minister of Fisheries and Seafood Odd Emil Ingebrigtsen said in a press release.

“Therefore I now urge the EU and the UK to join negotiations,” he added.

As for now, however, no there is no indication that Denmark will try to pressure Norway into an agreement. Denmark’s Minister for Food, Agriculture and Fisheries, Rasmus Prehn, has ruled out intervening in Norwegian fish imports, reported DR.

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