UK and Iceland to step up cooperation on fisheries

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The UK has today signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Iceland to boost cooperation on fisheries matters.

As the UK prepares to leave the EU’s Common Fisheries Policy at the end of December, this Memorandum of Understanding is the first fisheries agreement the UK has made with Iceland, and it follows the recent agreement with Norway, the agreement with the Faroe Islands and the bilateral arrangement with Greenland. It ensures that the UK, as an independent coastal state, has a bespoke arrangement in place with each of its principal fisheries partners across the North-East Atlantic.

The agreement, which will come into effect on 1st January 2021, was signed by Fisheries Minister Victoria Prentis and Icelandic Minister of Fisheries Kristján Þór Júlíusson, who both participated via video conference.

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The agreement will establish a UK-Iceland Fisheries Dialogue, whereby both countries can share best practice and cooperate on a range of issues, including product innovation and food waste reduction. Businesses will also be able to exchange knowledge on the adoption of new technologies, and ways to enhance the value, traceability and marketing of seafood products.

Fisheries Minister Victoria Prentis said:

As an independent coastal state, we are committed to ensuring a sustainable and prosperous industry for the future.

This agreement demonstrates the strong relationship between our two nations on matters including trade and fisheries. I would like to thank our Icelandic counterparts for the constructive approach they have adopted throughout these negotiations. We have already seen the potential of working together given the number of shared issues and objectives our countries have on fishery management, and we look forward to continuing this constructive dialogue.

The Fisheries Minister for Iceland Kristján Þór Júlíusson said:

With this Memorandum of Understanding we are ensuring that Britain’s exit from the European Union results in enhancing further the good cooperation Iceland has had with the United Kingdom. I am pleased to note that there is clear mutual interest in the two countries to have close coordination and cooperation regarding fisheries.

There is great friendship among our nations and we have had close relations for centuries. These relations have not least centred on to fisheries. From the Icelandic side, Britain is an important market for many Icelandic companies and the British government is an important partner for us in many international organisations. I’m convinced that this Memorandum of Understanding is the start of a very good cooperation.

This Memorandum of Understanding reaffirms and builds on the fisheries commitments both the UK and Iceland made within the UK-Iceland Joint Vision for 2030 that was signed earlier this year.

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As part of this vision, the UK and Iceland recognise the need to promote responsible fisheries to ensure the long-term conservation and sustainable use of marine resources, and endeavour to use a science-based approach to fisheries and aquaculture management in order to minimise the impacts on the marine environment.

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