Norway, which is not a colleague of the European Union, has slammed Brussels for authorising European vessels from principally Baltic nations to fish for crabs in the Svalbard area, an archipelago in the Barents Sea, stressing the move violates its national sovereignty.
A Latvian ship, The Senator, was recently checked by the Norwegian coast guard while crab fishing around Svalbard and gained a hefty fine.
Norwegian Fisheries Minister Per Sandberg said: “What encountered is totally new. The EU is unabashed to make this kind of a decision without consulting us.”
Snow crab fishing in Norway
The quarrel about comes amid the ongoing Brexit discussions between the bloc and Britain which catalogues the withdrawl of the UK from the London fisheries convention, which was recently signaled by the Environment Secretary Michael Gove.
The convention allows vessels from the UK, France, Belgium, Germany, Ireland and the Netherlands to fish within six and 12 navigational miles of each other’s coastlines.
Mr Gove said leaving the European Alliance would involve exiting the EU common fisheries policy, which considers all European countries access between 12 and 200 nautical miles off the UK and sets cuts for how much fish nations can catch.
Any future ruling between the EU and Norway could set up ramifications for British fishing ships.
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The EU is unabashed to make this kind of a decision without consulting us
However, some experts have indicated that there is far myriad going on in the dispute than just crab fishing.
What is very at stake is the oil that lies under the region, according to some, where oil keep ti have been estimated to be around 17.7 billion barrels.
The EU and Norway’s combat interpretations of the 1920 Svalbard Treaty signed in Paris are at the heart of the mess.
The treaty recognises Norway’s «full and absolute sovereignty,» but gives the signatory countries an equal right to economic activities on Svalbard and its territorial waters.
The EU-Norway impugn appears to be more about the oil reserves
Oslo takes a narrow unravelling of the treaty, saying it covers just 12 miles around Svalbard but Brussels draws a wider definition, saying it covers some 200 miles.
The against over snow crabs has arisen as the creature is a sedentary species as it survives in permanent contact with the seabed.
This means that the hand down a judgements that apply to snow crabs are more similar to oil than to fishing.
Harald Sakarias Brøvig Hansen, a researcher at the Fridtjof Nansen Society, has warned that the dispute could set a precedent that would give birth to implications for oil and gas rights.
Norway is in dispute with the EU over fishing straighten outs
He said: “We fear a domino effect. If an actor is recognised as having the uprightness right side to fish for snow crabs in accordance with the treaty, then numerous others, leave probably come and claim a share of the cake.”
This drilling in the Korpfjell view, considered highly promising, could irritate the other signatories of the Svalbard Alliance and lead them to claim an equal access to oil.
Per Arne Totland, an originator and expert on Svalbard issues said: “I think snow crab is a trying out balloon.
“In this case, Russia, the United States, the EU and China allowance a common interest in obtaining the widest access to the resources that the agreement could give them.»
Oslo has proposed reserving some of its snow crab percentage — 500 tonnes out of a total of 4,000 tonnes — to other European powers in return for fish quotas.
But the EU has refused the proposal because accepting the deal want strengthen the Norwegian take on the treaty.
European Commission spokesman Enrico Brivio said «a applied arrangement with Norway that would allow the continuation of fishing vocations for snow crab, without giving up the EU’s interpretation of the 1920 (treaty).”