Russia threats adequate measures against Norway due to recent arrests of fishing vessels in Spitsbergen

October 13, 2011 11:47

Russia's Federal Fisheries Agency can introduce adequate measures against Norway due to recent arrests of Russian fishing vessels in Spitsbergen, reports

In the end of September 2011 the Norwegian coast guards arrested the Russian trawler Sapphire-2 (homeport Murmansk) in the open waters of Spitsbergen due to suspicion of illegal fish discards and escorted the vessel to Tromsø harbor for trial proceedings. In the first nine months of 2011 Norwegian guards arrested 7 Russian vessels with the total economic loss estimated at nearly RUR40 million.

Speaking at the 40th session of Mixed Russian-Norwegian Fisheries Commission in Kaliningrad Russia's fishery industry head Andrey Krainy has strongly opposed such arrests by the Norwegian Coast Guard who accused the Russian fishermen of illegal discards in the fishery conservation zone of Spitsbergen (unilaterally introduced by Norway and not ratified by Russia), while under the Russian fishery regulations trawling operations imply inevitable discards.

The conflict could be solved via development and approval of single fishery regulations and control measures in the waters of Spitsbergen and Andrey Krainy has called it the main challenge for the Commission's meeting in 2011.

In its turn the Norwegian side says they are much willing to harmonize the fishery regulations and fishery control measures and open to discuss punitive measures against violators.

The both sides have already made good progress in management of joint fish stocks, in particular they have made quick decisions on TACs, set single sizes for cod and haddock and trawl meshes.

Agreement 1920

Speaking on the subject Russia's Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergey Lavrov has stated that economic activities in the waters of Spitsbergen, both Russian and Norwegian, should be based on the agreement of 1920.

At the Paris Peace Conference in 1920 the sides signed an agreement securing Norway's sovereignty in Spitsbergen. At the same time, all the signee nations had the right to carry out commercial and research activities on the basis of complete equality and demilitarized status of the archipelago. Mixed Russian-Norwegian Fisheries Commission has served as a very useful tool for discussion of practical aspects of the agreement.

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