EU countries agreed in Brussels on fishing quotas for the next three months. They usually conclude an agreement for a whole year, but the period has now been shortened because it is still unclear what can be agreed with the United Kingdom.
Dutch fishermen are allowed to catch at least 25 percent of last year’s annual quota in January, February and March, fisheries minister Carola Schouten and her colleagues have agreed.
Of fish that is mainly caught this season, such as mackerel, horse mackerel and blue whiting, 40 to 65 percent may be fished.
But where the Dutch fleet is allowed to fish is still unclear. In the coming weeks, the EU will try to reach agreements with the British and the Norwegians about the access of European fishermen to their waters.
This is also more difficult with Norway than before because Oslo would also first like to know what it means for fisheries if the United Kingdom also leaves the EU in practice on 1 January.
Negotiations on a trade agreement between Brussels and London are still dragging on, even though time is now running out. It is precisely about fishing rights that the two camps still disagree wholeheartedly.
Schouten is “satisfied that we have been able to provide a bit of security for the fishermen in uncertain times”. But “it is essential that there is soon clarity about an agreement with the United Kingdom.” Once that is in place, Europe can also support fishermen if needed, she says.