The Norwegian minister for fisheries and coastal affairs, Lisbeth Berg-Hansen, is meeting her Danish colleague, the Danish minister for food, Mette Gjerskov, in Copenhagen on January 26. Issues to be discussed at the meeting include the work on reforming EU's common fisheries policy and follow-up of the joint declaration banning discard of fish in the waters of Skagerrak , which was signed in November last year.
Denmark will hold the presidency of the EU in the spring of 2012. EU's common fisheries policy is important for Norway, because we, in close cooperation with the EU, manage shared fish stocks in the North Sea. "The proposal from the EU Commission is encouraging, and I especially support the introduction of a ban on discard of fish. The joint Skagerrak-declaration from Sweden, Denmark and Norway was an important milestone, and we are now working towards the implementation of the agreement," says Lisbeth Berg-Hansen.
For many years, one of the major challenges in the management cooperation between Norway and the EU has been that the parties, to a certain extent, manage the North Sea stocks in different ways. Norway's fishing regulations include a ban on discards, and has introduced regulations aimed at avoiding unwanted catches. EU fishermen are, on the other hand, required to discard fish that they do not have a quota for, or which are too small.
EU has now proposed a reform of its fisheries policy that clearly points in the right direction and a ban on fish discards is one of the proposals. The work of reducing discards will, therefore, form an important part of the cooperation in the future. The reform proposals will now be subjected to the internal decision process in the EU, in which among other things, the Council and the European Parliament must agree before they can be finally adopted.