Post-Brexit Management of Pelagic Fisheries in the North-East Atlantic: Norwegian Spring Spawning-Atlanto Scandian Herring, Mackerel, and Blue Whiting

Zvonimir P. Đ. Mrdalo, Ragnar Arnason, Trond Bjørndal, Max Nielsen

Research output: Book/ReportCommissioned report

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The Norwegian Sea is home to three large pelagic fisheries for mackerel, Norwegian spring spawning
– Atlanto Scandian herring and blue whiting. In 2019, the total catch of these three species was
3,113,000 tonnes with a total value estimated at EUR 2.011 billion. This means they represent some
of the largest fisheries in the North Atlantic and are important in terms of income and employment
for the participating countries. The purpose of this report is to analyse post-Brexit management of the
fisheries. A number of countries including the EU, Norway, the Faroe Islands, Iceland, Greenland
and Russia have traditionally fished these stocks and have internationally recognised fishing rights in
the area. As the United Kingdom has left the EU, the legal status of both the UK and the EU has
changed: while the UK is now a coastal state in all three fisheries, the EU is coastal state in the
fisheries for mackerel and blue whiting while a distant water state in the herring fishery. The more
countries involved, the more difficult to arrive at a cooperative agreement. Thus, with a new player
post-Brexit, it may become even more difficult than before to agree to cooperate. The report takes a
game theoretic perspective to the management of the fisheries in question. In a cooperative game, all
parties cooperating is referred to as the grand coalition and there have been periods when the fisheries
have been managed by grand coalitions. However, for mackerel, the grand coalition broke down in
2008; for herring, where there was full cooperation up to 2012, while for blue whiting, the grand
coalition broke down in 2015. Currently, although the parties agree on TACs as recommended by
ICES, national quotas are set unilaterally with the consequence the sum of quotas exceed ICES quota
advice. The report analyses developments in the fisheries over time as well as conditions that must
be met for renewed cooperation.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationBergen
PublisherSamfunns- og næringslivsforskning AS
Commissioning bodyNordisk Arbeidsgruppe for Fiskeri (AG-Fisk)
Number of pages121
ISBN (Electronic)ISBN 978-82-491-1085-8
ISBN (Print)ISBN 978-82-491-1084-1
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • Norwegian Sea
  • fisheries
  • quotas


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