Agreed record of conclusions of fisheries consultations between the United Kingdom, the European Union, Faroe Islands, Iceland and Norway on the management of blue whiting in the north-east Atlantic in 2024
London, 18 October 2023
1. A delegation from the United Kingdom, headed by Will FRANCIS, a delegation from the European Union, headed by Eva María CARBALLEIRA FERNANDEZ, a delegation from the Faroe Islands, headed by Herluf SIGVALDSSON, a delegation from Iceland, headed by Guðmundur THÓRDARSON, and a delegation from Norway, headed by Vidar LANDMARK met in London on 11 to 13 October 2023 to consult on the management of the blue whiting stock in the North-East Atlantic in 2024.
2. A delegation from Greenland, headed by Iben FUNCH DØJ attended as an observer.
3. The delegations noted that the agreed long-term management strategy dated 27 October 2016, is regarded by ICES as consistent with the precautionary approach (Annex I). The delegations also noted that the long-term strategy for blue whiting should have been reviewed after five years. The delegations agreed that this review needs to be coordinated with plans for benchmarking in ICES, and the Parties will return to the issue of a review and the planning and preparation of this during 2024.
4. The delegations agreed that the level of total catches for blue whiting in the North-East Atlantic for 2024 should be no more than 1,529,754 tonnes as advised by ICES. The delegations also agreed that the establishing of unilateral quotas for 2024 does not in any way imply the acceptance of the level of these quotas by any Party.
5. The delegations agreed that Parties will reconvene to address the issue of a quota-sharing arrangement as soon as possible, and no later than in early 2024. All delegations stressed the importance of maintaining the focus on concluding a comprehensive sharing arrangement as soon as possible. Some delegations also put forward proposals to reduce the total catches over the agreed TAC and scientific advice if needed in the interim.
6. The delegations encouraged the Parties to develop and coordinate their scientific research activities in order to improve the information available for the assessment and the management of this stock.
7. The delegations welcomed the outcomes of the Report of the 2023 Coastal States Working Group on the distribution of blue whiting in the Northeast Atlantic, September 2023 to update the “Report from the NEAFC Working Group on Collating Information on the Distribution of All Life Stages of Blue Whiting in the North-East Atlantic and the Distribution of Catches from the Stock, London, 26-28 November 2013” and agreed to update this report in 2024, chaired by the United Kingdom and Iceland.
8. The delegations exchanged final quota and catch information for 2021 and 2022 as well as preliminary information for 2023 (Annex II). The delegations also exchanged information with regard to their fishing activities, including exchanges and access arrangements (Annex III).
9. The delegations agreed to continue to provide information in the same format as set out in Annex II and Annex III to this Agreed Record. Each Party shall by 1 May 2024, provide updated information in this regard to the chair of the consultations for 2025. The chair shall forward this information as soon as possible to all Parties to this Agreed Record.
10. The delegations agreed that the Parties may fish blue whiting within their quotas in their respective zones of fisheries jurisdiction and in international waters.
11. The delegations agreed that further arrangements by the Parties, including arrangements for access, quota transfers and other conditions for fishing in their respective zones of fisheries jurisdiction, are regulated by bilateral agreements.
London, 18 October 2023
Will Francis For the Delegation of the United Kingdom
Eva María Carballeira Fernandez for the Delegation of the European Union
Herluf Sigvaldsson for the Delegation of the Faroe Islands
Guðmundur Thórdarson for the Delegation of Iceland
Ann Kristin Westberg on behalf of Vidar Landmark for the Delegation of Norway
Arrangement for the long-term management of the blue whiting stock
1. The Parties agree to implement a long-term management strategy for the fisheries on the Blue Whiting stock, which is consistent with the precautionary approach and the MSY approach, aiming at ensuring harvest rates within safe biological limits.
2. For the purpose of this long-term management strategy, in the following text, “TAC” means the sum of the agreed Coastal State quotas and the NEAFC allowable catches.
3. As a priority, the long-term strategy shall ensure with high probability that the size of the stock is maintained above Blim.
4. In the case that the spawning biomass is forecast to be above or equal to Btrigger (=Bpa) on 1 January of the year for which the TAC is to be set, the TAC shall be fixed to a fishing mortality of FMSY.
5. Where the rules in paragraph 4 would lead to a TAC, which deviates by more than 20% below or 25% above the TAC of the preceding year, the Parties shall fix a TAC that is respectively no more than 20% less or 25% more than the TAC of the preceding year.
6. The TAC constraint described in paragraph 5 shall not apply if:
- a. The spawning biomass at 1 January in the year preceding the year for which the TAC is to be set is less than Btrigger; or
- b. The rules in paragraph 4 would lead to a TAC that deviates by more than 40% from the TAC of the preceding year.
7. In the case that the spawning biomass (SSB) is forecast to be less than the precautionary biomass (Btrigger) on 1 January of the year for which the TAC is to be set, the TAC shall be fixed at a level that is consistent with a fishing mortality given by:
Target F = 0.05 + [(SSB - Blim)*(FMSY - 0.05) / (Btrigger - Blim)]
8. In the case that the spawning biomass is forecast to be less than Blim on 1 January of the year for which the TAC is to be set, the TAC will be fixed corresponding to a fishing mortality F = 0.05.
9. Each Party may transfer to the following year unutilised quantities of up to 10% of the quota allocated to it. The quantity transferred shall be in addition to the quota allocated to the Party concerned in the following year.
10. Each Party may authorise fishing by its vessels of up to 10% beyond the quota allocated. All quantities fished beyond the allocated quota for one year shall be deducted from the Party’s quota allocated for the following year.
11. The inter-annual quota flexibility scheme in paragraph 9 and 10 should be suspended in the year following the TAC year, if the stock is forecast to be under Btrigger at the end of the TAC year.
12. The Parties, on the basis of ICES advice, shall review this long-term management strategy at intervals not exceeding five years. The first such review shall take place no later than by December 2021.
This annex includes a table showing quotas and catches of blue whiting in the North-East Atlantic from 2021 to 2023. The table can be viewed in the attached PDF.
This annex includes tables showing transfers and access arrangements for blue whiting in 2023. The table can be viewed in the attached PDF.
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