Brussels maintains its objective of agreeing in March on fishing quotas shared with London

BRUSSELS, 22 (EUROPA PRESS)

The European Commission maintains its objective of agreeing with the British authorities before the end of March on the final fishing quotas for this year for the hundred stocks that the European Union shares with the United Kingdom and thus guaranteeing the continuity of its activity to the Community fleet.

“We remain confident that we will be able to agree on the final fishing opportunities for 2021 before the end of March and guarantee the continuity of our fishermen who fish in stocks shared with the United Kingdom”, explained the Commissioner for the Environment, Oceans and Fisheries, Virginijus Sinkevicius, following the videoconference meeting of the Twenty-seven Fisheries Ministers.

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The Lithuanian has indicated that it is “absolutely vital” to reach an agreement with London on the matter and during the telematic meeting he has informed those responsible for the EU branch about the progress achieved in the two rounds of negotiations that Brussels has already held with the authorities British.

The EU and the United Kingdom must set the fishing opportunities for a hundred stocks whose management is shared between both parties. As an interim measure, and pending an agreement on Brexit, the bloc was assigned in December fishing quotas equivalent to 25% of those planned for 2020, but this solution only covers the first quarter of the year and will expire at the end of March.

Despite the fact that the consultations are already moving forward, the Twenty-seven still must close the negotiating mandate of the Community Executive in the coming weeks. The EU Fisheries Ministers agreed on Monday the last fringes of the same and the commissioner has celebrated that it is a “solid base” to continue with the negotiations.

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Sinkevicius has explained in this regard that the EU will seek in the consultations to agree on fishing opportunities that are in line with the scientific recommendations of the ICES for each stock, as well as that it will follow the precautionary principle for those stocks for which there is no data on the state of biomass.

For his part, the Minister of Maritime Affairs of Portugal, Ricardo Serrao, as acting president of the meeting of EU Fisheries Ministers, highlighted the “exceptional situation” of these negotiations, which are taking place for the first time after Brexit.

The Portuguese minister has transferred that the Twenty-seven have entrusted “unanimously” to the European Commission to work so that the talks with London end “as soon as possible” and respect both the scientific recommendations and the “needs” of the sector.

SPAIN REQUESTS CLARITY AND CERTAINTY

On behalf of Spain, the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Luis Planas, has participated, who in a statement stressed the need to establish “as soon as possible and with clarity and certainty” the fishing quotas of the stocks shared with the United Kingdom because ” it is what the fleet needs to do the necessary planning of its business activity “.

Beyond the fishing opportunities for species such as hake, rooster or monkfish, Spain’s priority is for the EU to achieve “acceptable levels of catches” of bream and cod from the West of Scotland and the Celtic Sea. The objective is that the capture of these species does not “strangle” the activity of vessels that focus on other fisheries due to the obligation to land.

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In this sense, Spain advocates maintaining the current sea bream quota, which “does not compromise the sustainability of the species and guarantees social, economic and employment sustainability.” With regard to cod, he asks for “realistic figures” in the quota bags that are assigned to countries that, like Spain, do not have a specific quota.

Minister Planas has also used the meeting to urge the Community Executive to make the “necessary efforts” to conclude a new fishing agreement with Mauritania, since the current one expires on November 15 and has already been extended twice.

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