Flemish Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, Hilda Krivitz, wants a quick clarification on the catch quota after March 31. She said this in the Flemish Parliament during a debate on Brexit. It is about quotas in both British waters and the European Union, for shared fish stocks.
As is known, at the end of last year, after Brexit, the shares of various European member states for the fish stocks shared with the United Kingdom were set until the end of March. The intention was to conclude European negotiations for the rest of the year before the end of this month. It is not yet certain whether this will work, but we are working hard to find a solution quickly as we hope. In any case, Minister Krivets will indicate at the Agrivish Council next week that it is important for our fishermen to know quickly how much fish they can catch after March 31, so that they can properly plan the supply of different types of fresh fish.
Yesterday, the European Commission reached an agreement with the United Kingdom and Norway on a number of jointly managed fish stocks. This determines the quota size for 2021 for common species in the North Sea, such as cod and cod. There is also good news that our fishermen have regained access to Norwegian waters. It has been at least 10 years since Flemish fishermen carried out their activities there, but in the context of mitigating the consequences of Brexit, it may be interesting to revitalize salmon fishing there.
As a result of Brexit, Flemish fishermen are not currently landing their fish in British ports. Large administrative burden: 5 different documents and data must be reported. Incorrect document can lead to extra checks and this seriously compromises fish freshness. To reduce delays, one possible scenario is the creation of an additional border control center to implement health controls in Flanders. This has been discussed previously with Federal Minister Clarinvale, who is in charge of monitoring food safety and willing to collaborate in finding solutions. Together with FASFC, the advantages and disadvantages of the various scenarios related to the transport of Belgian catch from the United Kingdom via France versus directly to Belgium are identified, along with additional steps that can be taken in each scenario.
The concerned services are now consulting with the producers’ organization, Flemish Auctions, to identify additional solutions. Additional support or guidance will be provided to companies if required.
Finally, Minister Krivitz stated that in the future a specialized fisheries committee will be established to exchange quotas between the member states of Europe and the United Kingdom. It is clear to the Minister that Flanders is investigating the Belgian Chair on this.
Temporarily larger breathing space for our exporting companies
The UK is postponing a number of new administrative requirements, which will take effect from April 1, for several months. Flemish Agriculture and Food Minister Hilda Krivitz made this clear in the Flemish Parliament during the exchange of views on Brexit. This decision gives Flemish exporting companies, and food companies in particular, more room to breathe, as they face a number of problems due to Brexit, especially when it comes to importing fresh produce.
Port Zeebrugge installed a so-called “green lane” to export perishable goods in times of heavy traffic. But at the moment there are very few reports of the inconvenience our agriculture, horticulture and agribusiness companies are currently experiencing. Most of the reported problems are related to reverse movement, that is, exports from the United Kingdom to the European Union.
Secretary Krivitz met with fellow Federal Reserve David Clarinvall at the end of February. It was specifically agreed here that FASFC and VLAM will jointly provide the necessary guidance to individual firms to properly prepare them for the growing demands in terms of management obligations in the fall and early next year.