United Kingdom, European Union and Norway – North Sea sprat fisheries consultations: agreed record for 2023

Agreed record of fisheries consultations between the European Union, Norway and the United Kingdom for the period 1 July 2023 to 30 June 2024.

Sprat in ICES Division 3a, Subarea 4 and Division 2a for 1 July 2023 to 30 June 2024

1. A European Union Delegation, headed by Mael LE DRAST, a Norwegian Delegation, headed by Ann Kristin Westberg, and a United Kingdom Delegation, headed by Will Francis, met virtually on 12 May 2023 to consult on mutual fisheries relations for sprat in ICES Division 3a, Subarea 4 and Division 2a for 1 July 2023 to 30 June 2024.

2. The Delegations agreed to recommend to their respective authorities the following fishery arrangements for the period 1 July 2023 to 30 June 2024, as outlined in this Agreed Record. Accordingly, where this Agreed Record refers to the Delegations (or the Parties) having agreed on a matter, it should be read as an agreement to recommend to the Delegations’ respective authorities to implement the arrangements in this Agreed Record.

3. The Delegations agreed to roll over the method to distribute the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) single stock advice, which results in an allocation of 18.3% of the overall advice as the basis for setting the TAC for the Skagerrak/Kattegat.

4. The United Kingdom Delegation recalled that it had not, in its own right, been party to that 2020 decision on allocation. The UK noted its preference for using an allocation method which more accurately reflects the spatial distribution of the resource, but noted that this had not been adopted in advance of setting the Total Allowable Catch (TAC) in 2023.

5. The Norwegian Delegation agreed with the UK Delegation that, as a principle, allocation methods should reflect the spatial distribution of fish stocks.

6. The European Union Delegation recalled its general position that allocation methods should continue to be based on historic fishing rights.

7. The Delegations noted that ICES released the advice on sprat in Division 3a and Subarea 4 (Skagerrak, Kattegat and North Sea) on 20 April 2023. Based on its Maximum Sustainable Yield (MSY) approach, ICES advises that catches in the Skagerrak, Kattegat and North Sea for the period from 1 July 2023 to 30 June 2024 should be no more than 143,598 tonnes.

8. The Delegations agreed to apply a split of the TAC between the Skagerrak and Kattegat and the North Sea which would allocate 18.3% of the TAC to the Skagerrak and Kattegat.

9. The Delegations consequently agreed to establish a TAC for sprat in ICES Division 3.a (Skagerrak and Kattegat) of 26,278 tonnes and in ICES Subarea 4 of 117,320 tonnes for the period 1 July 2023 to 30 June 2024. This is an increase of 109% compared to the previous TAC period.

10. The European Union Delegation notified other Delegations of its intention to roll over the provisions allowing for the transfer of EU quotas from waters of ICES division 3a to United Kingdom and European Union waters of division 2a and subarea 4, as laid out in Table 4 of the Written Record of fisheries consultations between the United Kingdom and the European Union for 2023, signed on 20 December 2022.

11. The Delegations agreed to work to increase the quality of the scientific advice for sprat in ICES Division 3a and Subarea 4, both in the short and longer term. For the period 1 July 2023 to 30 June 2024, should surveys undertaken later in 2023 indicate that there may be a significant change in the stock abundance, Delegations will consult further ahead of the annual consultations for 2024 to 2025.

16 May 2023

For the European Union Delegation, Mael Le Drast

For the Norwegian Delegation, Ann Kristin Westberg

For the United Kingdom Delegation, Will Francis

The 2022 agreed record can be viewed on the gov.scot archive.

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