The Members of the European Parliament did not go soft on Norwegian Fisheries Minister Per Sandberg when questioning him about why Norway denies EU vessels the right to catch snow crab in Norwegian waters.
- Norway places itself in a most unfortunate light in this matter, the Polish Member of the European Parliament Jaroslaw Walesa said to Sandberg when the Norwegian Fisheries Minister met the EU Parliament’s Fisheries Committee for discussions in Brussels the other day, according to Norwegian daily Bergens Tidende.
Norway will not relent on its solitary right to catching snow crabs on the Norwegian continental shelf, and the Dutch MEP Peter van Dalen says the conflict between Norway and the EU seems to be stuck in a rut.
"Norway does not have international law on its side. I believe we will end up at the International Court of Justice in Haag," he says.
"We are not willing to compromise when it comes to Norway’s right to regulate and exploit resources on the Norwegian continental shelf," Sandberg said.
The snow crab was, in a Norwegian context, discovered for the first time in waters along the Finnmark coast in 2003, i.e. along the country’s northernmost county. The dispute now concerns the rights to catching snow crabs in the waters around Svalbard. The EU has given catching licenses to some 20 vessels, whereas Norway has flatly denied these licenses.