The UK has today signed a fisheries framework agreement with the Faroe Islands. This is the second coastal state agreement negotiated since the UK left the EU and follows the UK-Norway fisheries treaty signed by Environment Secretary George Eustice on 30 September 2020.
The agreement was signed by the UK Ambassador to Denmark, Emma Hopkins, and the Faroese Fisheries Minister, Jacob Vestergaard. UK Fisheries Minister Victoria Prentis joined the ceremony via video conference. It sets out that the UK and Faroes will hold annual negotiations on the issues of access to waters and quotas.
This treaty is a further step forward as the UK prepares to leave the EU’s Common Fisheries Policy at the end of December and become an independent coastal state. From 1 January, the UK will be able to decide who can access its waters and on what terms, in the best interest of its marine environment and its seafood and fishing sectors.
Fishing communities across the whole of the UK will benefit from fisheries agreements such as this one signed with the Faroes, which ensures that the needs of our fishermen and our fish stocks are put first. The UK is taking back control of its natural resources while seeking to restore more of our fish stocks to healthy levels.
The agreement includes principles that demonstrate the shared will of the UK and the Faroe Islands to cooperate as independent coastal states and seek effective and sustainable management of their fisheries.
Fisheries Minister Victoria Prentis said:
This agreement will ensure that annual fisheries negotiations can take place this year to the benefit of our fishing industry.
I would like to thank our Faroese counterparts for their constructive approach, and I look forward to building on the strong and historic links between our nations while taking further steps to responsibly manage our seas.
Faroes Fisheries Minister Jacob Vestergaard said:
This is a historic day for the relations between the Faroes and the United Kingdom. The signing of the Fisheries Agreement is a landmark in our history and a stepping stone in our joint ambition to develop further the cooperation between our two nations.
I am especially pleased with the sincere and constructive working relationship between Faroe and UK Ministers and officials in recent years.
Each year, the UK fishing fleet catches around £2.34m worth of fish from Faroese waters. Iconic species including cod, haddock, and pollock are landed in ports such as Lerwick, Peterhead and Ullapool.
In previous years, bilateral negotiations with the Faroe Islands were led by the European Commission on behalf of the UK and other member states. This autumn, for the first time in over 40 years, the UK will be negotiating fishing opportunities for 2021 as an independent coastal state.