The two countries' negotiating leaders at the end of the session. Ilya Shestakov watches as Morten Berg puts his signature to the agreement documents. Image: Kjell Ingebrigtsen

An agreement was signed between Russia and Norway following negotiations that took place at Petrozavodsk in Karelia. With the joint Norwegian-Russian Fisheries Commission meeting for the 49th time, the two nations agreed and signed the agreement on the management of common stocks in the Barents Sea for 2020.

Under the terms of the agreement, the principle is continued of setting and sharing quotas between Russia, Norway and a number of third countries, based on research and scientific advice.

The agreement covers north-east Arctic cod and haddock, capelin, Greenland halibut and redfish. The 2020 cod quota is increased by 13,000 tonnes and haddock by 40,000 tonnes, while the Greenland halibut quota remains unchanged and there was agreement on a slight increase in the redfish quota.

In line with ICES advice, there will be no Barents Sea capelin fishery this winter.

‘The meeting and the agreement are proof of the good management work we enjoy on the shared stocks in the Barents Sea,’ said Kjell Ingebrigtsen of Norges Fiskarlaget.

In addition to setting quotas, the agreement extends to improved opportunities for sharing information and regulatory changes, contributing to greater opportunities for fishing in each other’s waters.

‘A slight disappointment in the agreement is the reduction of Norway’s opportunities to fish for shrimp in the Russian zone. The reduction will be from the current 6000 tonnes to 4500 tonnes in 2020,’ Kjell Ingebrigtsen said.

‘This year’s agreement helps create a predictable approach to value creation in 2020 and lays a further good foundation for the continued cooperation between our two countries.’

The Norwegian negotiating team was headed by Assistant Ministry Councillor Morten Berg, while the Russian delegation was headed by Ilya Shestakov, Deputy Minister of Agriculture and head of the Federal Fisheries Agency.

According to the terms of the agreement, the 2020 cod quota is set at 738,000 tonnes, up from 725,000 tonnes in 2019.

The haddock is 215,000 tonnes, compared to 172,500 tonnes in 2019 and the Greenland halibut quota remains unchanged at 27,000 tonnes. The redfish quota is set at 55,860 tonnes, a marginal increase in the 2019 quota of 53,757 tonnes)