Seventeenth Report Contents

Chapter 2: Agreement reported for information

Framework Agreement on Fisheries between the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the Government of the Faroes (CP 317, 2020)19

30.The UK-Faroes Fisheries Framework Agreement was laid on 10 November 2020, and the scrutiny period is scheduled to end on 16 December 2020. It was considered by the International Agreements Sub-Committee on 25 November 2020.

31.As with the UK-Norway Fisheries Framework Agreement, the UK-Faroes Fisheries Framework Agreement facilitates annual agreements between the parties and seeks to maintain existing fishing opportunities after the UK ceases to be a party to the EU-Faroes Fisheries Agreement as of 1 January 2021.20 It also seeks to facilitate the effective management of fish stocks in those waters. It has an initial term of six years and can subsequently be renewed for four-year terms. Each party may terminate the Agreement after giving at least one year’s notice (Article 11). The UK-Faroes Agreement also applies only to the “metropolitan UK”; that is to say, it does not apply to the waters of the Crown Dependencies or the Overseas Territories.

32.The UK-Faroes Fisheries Framework Agreement is largely identical to the UK-Norway Agreement, considered in the preceding chapter, except that the UK-Faroes Agreement includes slightly more extensive topics for scientific research (Article 1 of the UK-Faroes Agreement includes the topics of “marine biology and the marine environment” as well as “stocks of common interest”). Accordingly, as noted in Lord Teverson’s letter, the EU Environment Sub-Committee’s observations largely apply here also, excepting those that relate to the EU-Norway Exchange of Letters.

33.The UK-Faroes agreement was also discussed during the final stages of the Fisheries Act 2020.21 Officials confirmed to us that, while negotiations for this framework agreement threw up new issues relating to a 1999 treaty about maritime delineations that precipitated Government amendments to the Fisheries Bill, the Fisheries Act 2020 does not implement any provisions from this new framework agreement prior to the expiry of the CRAG scrutiny period. Rather, those Government amendments ensure that the UK’s licensing regime will be consistent with the 1999 Agreement after the end of the Brexit transition period when the UK will cease to be bound by the Common Fisheries Policy legislation that had previously governed the conditions for access by Faroese-licensed vessels to EU waters. The Fisheries Act 2020 will thus enable the UK to license vessels to fish in the UK-Faroes Special Area, over which both parties exercise fisheries jurisdiction under the 1999 Agreement.22

34.During the debate on the Fisheries Act 2020, Members also raised questions about whether there was an asymmetry in the access being granted by the Agreement to the Faroese and UK fleets, so that the former would benefit more from the Agreement. As we note above regarding the UK-Norway Fisheries Framework Agreement, it is important that the Government makes available its estimates of how both parties will benefit so that Parliament and stakeholders can fully understand the effects of the Agreement. We urge the Government to make this information available.

35.We report the UK-Faroes Fisheries Framework Agreement to the House for information.

19. Framework Agreement on Fisheries between the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the Government of the Faroes, CP 317, 2020: [accessed 11 November 2020]

20 Agreement on Fisheries between the European Economic Community, of the one part, and the Government of Denmark and the Home Government of the Faroe Islands, of the other party, OJ L 226/12 (29 August 1980)

21 HL Deb, 12 November 2020, cols 1187–91

22 In the specific case of the UK-Faroes Special Area, the Scottish Government will be the relevant UK authority for the purposes of licensing, and Scottish Ministers will maintain and publish the list of those vessels licensed to fish in the Special Area that are also licensed by the Faroes to fish there.

© Parliamentary copyright 2020