Trouble over a dispute with Oslo

Fish and Chips

The British national dish could become expensive after negotiations with Norway over catch quotas fell through.


(Photo: dpa)

London For the time being, “Fish and Chips” are only available to the British as imported goods. In the United Kingdom, many representatives from the fishing industry vented their anger over the broken negotiations with Norway on Friday.

The government had previously confirmed that talks with Oslo about mutual access to the respective waters had failed for the time being. Many seafarers now fear for their jobs. The national dish fish and chips (fried fish in batter with french fries) could soon become more expensive for the British.

Since the UK left the EU at the beginning of this year, the country has had to negotiate bilateral agreements. A framework agreement with Norway was reached last year – but the quotas have to be set anew every year.

“We made a very fair offer on access to UK waters and the exchange of existing fishing quotas, but we have come to the conclusion that our positions are too far apart this year,” a statement from the UK Department of Agriculture said.

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But for many industry representatives this is not good enough. The UK Fisheries company, which has so far landed most of the British cod catch with the super trawler “Kirkella”, reacted indignantly. “As a consequence, no Arctic cod caught by the British will be sold by the fish-and-chip shops for our national dish,” complained managing director Jane Sandell, according to a statement. Instead, everything has to be imported by Norwegian fishermen who don’t even have to pay customs duties on it. It is a black day for Great Britain, an embarrassment and a national disgrace.

The head of the association of fish and chip shops NFFF, Andrew Crook, fears an impact on prices. “We depend on some domestic catch to keep the market stable and the absence of competition will have an impact on prices,” he said, according to a press release.

The umbrella organization of the British fisheries organizations NFFO also regretted the failure of the negotiations. So far, the fishermen’s frustration and disappointment with Brexit have been driven mainly by unfulfilled expectations, but the lack of an agreement with Norway means a significant step backwards.

Opposition leader Keir Starmer of the Labor Party accused Prime Minister Boris Johnson of having “betrayed” the fishermen.

With Brexit, Great Britain also left the EU’s Common Fisheries Policy. According to the government, this wanted to revive the local fishing industry – and make it more difficult for European fishermen to enter British waters.

But the problem is that most of the fish caught around the British coast are not on the menu in the UK, but are exported to the EU – this is now made more difficult by trade barriers. At the same time, when London left the EU, it also left joint agreements on access to the waters of Norway, Greenland, Iceland and the Faroe Islands, where the majority of the fish and chip species such as cod and haddock are caught. Bilateral agreements are still pending.

More: The chronology of Brexit – Britain’s exit from the EU in a nutshell

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