25.05.2006 · The Government

Norwegian Fisheries Minister visits Faroes

Minister of Fisheries and Maritime Affairs, Bjørn Kalsø, was host this week to an official visit to the Faroes by Helga Pedersen, Norwegian Minister of Fisheries and Coastal Affairs.

The ministers discussed a range of issues, including the challenges facing the fisheries processing sector in the region, in the light of the increased globalisation of both fisheries production and trade. The potential for further developing fresh fish products from sustainable fisheries in the North Atlantic was highlighted as a valuable asset for both countries, as consumer demand for high quality, ecologically responsible fish products continues to grow.

As nearest neighbours, the Faroes and Norway have a long-standing relationship in fisheries cooperation. For over 25 years the two countries have had an annual agreement on exchange of fisheries quotas and access to fish in each others waters. The minister also underlined the fruitful cooperation between the Faroes and Norway in multilateral fisheries issues, such as through NEAFC (the Northeast Atlantic Fisheries Commission) and they welcomed in particular the recent conclusion of the coastal states management arrangement for blue whiting.

Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing was also in focus during the visit. Both ministers share grave concerns about on-going pirate fishing in the region, such as the illegal catches of cod in the Barents Sea and redfish in the Irminger Sea. Such activity is seriously undermining the efforts of the responsible fisheries nations in the region to manage these resources sustainably. All practical and economic incentives, including denying port and market access to illegally caught fish need to be used in order to remove the basis for this activity and bring fisheries in international waters under control.

In this regard the ministers also recognised the need to re-establish a management regime for the Atlanto-Scandic herring as a matter requiring increased effort, not least in order to ensure that efforts to prevent IUU fishing in international waters are not undermined by lack of regulation.

Minister Pedersen also heard presentations on recent research activities carried out at the Faroese Fisheries Research Laboratory related to the ecosystem of the Faroe Plateau, recent assessments of pelagic fish stocks and Faroese projects to develop environmentally-friendly and cost-efficient fishing gear.

The two-day visit included a trip to Minister Kalsø’s home island of Kalsoy in the northern islands and a visit to the fisheries company Kósin in Klaksvík, the second-largest town in the Faroes with a long tradition as a major fisheries centre.



Photo: Norwegian Fisheries Minister, Helga Pedersen and Faroese Fisheries Minister Bjørn Kalsø on the island of Kalsoy, Faroes.