NORWAY - EU BLUE WHITING TALKS COLLAPSE
Round 5 of the talks over Norway’s request to catch the bulk of its vast 380,000-tonne quota of blue whiting in Irish waters has this morning reached stalemate and, with rumours that several of the Norwegian negotiators have already returned home, it appears highly unlikely that there will be any further discussion at this stage.
Norway has taken a ‘no compromise’ stance and has flatly rejected any EU counter proposals on the matter and, according to IFSA sources in Brussels today, it is now looking likely that not only is Round 5 of the talks over but that there will be no Round 6 planned.
This would mean that there will be no deal along the lines of those previously suggested that Norway would get access to Irish waters for blue whiting and in return would establish a unique Norway/Ireland quota transfer to the Irish pelagic fleet.
It has also transpired that Norway’s threat to block access to several other EU Member States’ 10,000 tonnes quota of Arctic Cod if they didnt get the blue whiting deal is unlawful as it is part of a separate 2014 agreement with the EU and cannot be used as any kind of bargaining chip in the blue whiting negotiations.