EU ministers meeting on fishery topics
Today, the EU Ministers competent for fisheries met on the second current year’s meeting of the EU Council under the Portuguese Presidency, which took place in the audio-visual form. This time, the Agenda included topics on fisheries. On exit of the United Kingdom from the EU, the Ministers familiarised themselves with the state of play of bilateral consultations between the EU and the UK on fishing opportunities for 2021 and on deep-sea fish stocks for 2021 and 2022. Slovenia was represented by the acting Directress General of the MAFF Food and Fisheries Directorate, Ms Ana Le Marechal Kolar.
Participants of the EU Fisheries Council meeting first familiarised themselves with the state of play of bilateral consultations between the EU and the United Kingdom on fishing opportunities for 2021 and deep-sea fish stocks for 2021 and 2022. This topic had already been on the Agenda of the January video-conference, where the Ministers discussed the guidelines relevant to such consultations.
On having left the EU, the United Kingdom has become an independent littoral state, which means that a large number of fish stocks formerly regarded as exclusive fishing resources of the European Union are now in common use in line with the International Law. This brings a change in the mechanism of determining fishing opportunities for a number of common fish stocks, which used to be negotiated by the EU Council. The aim of the European Commission, corroborated by Slovenia as well, is that an agreement with the UK concerning this open question should be reached by the end of March, as this is the period covered by the provisional regime of fishing quotas defined in Regulation fixing certain provisional fishing opportunities for 2021 in Union waters, which was adopted by the EU Agriculture and Fisheries Council by the end of December 2020.
Slovenia pointed out that it was imperative to reach an agreement with the UK as soon as possible, to ensure the continuation of fishing activities. In this respect, certain other open issues should be resolved in cooperation between the European Commission and the EU Member States. It is important as well that the European Commission, negotiating on behalf of the European Union, should maintain the close and transparent cooperation with the EU Council, which is competent for fishing opportunities.