The EU and Norway have very different views on the right to fish in the protected zone around Svalbard.
Law Professor Geir Ulfstein thinks Norway stands alone in its interpretation of the rights.
The EU calls for equality in the Svalbard Treaty of 1920, which stipulates that citizens of all the treaty countries have an equal right to engage in business activities, hunting and fishing in Svalbard.
Norway believes that the right only applies on land and with just over 22 kilometers from the territorial waters of Svalbard, but not on the shelf outside, which is Norwegian.
The EU has handed out licenses to fish in these waters, while Norway believes it is illegal fishing.
– So far, no country supported Norway’s view on the matter. Some have objected to Norway, others have refused to comment, says Geir Ulfstein, Professor of Public Law at the University of Oslo, as told the newspaper Nationen.
On December 22, the EU Commission sent a letter stating that 16 unnamed vessels licensed to fish snow crab in the area Norway claims to have jurisdiction over.
Only a week ago, the Latvian fishing vessel «Senator» was brought to Kirkenes by the Coast Guard when they put out crab pots on the Norwegian continental shelf.
According to NRK, the Finnmark Police concluded that the shipping company must pay a seizure fee of NOK 1 million in addition to a fine of NOK 150,000 kroner. The vessel had permission from the EU to fish in that area.
Source: NTB scanpix / Norway Today