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Fishing case loses at the Supreme Court

FOTO: Svalbardposten, juli 2013

Fishing case loses at the Supreme Court

A German fishing trawler company was unsuccessful in its battle over fishing in Svalbard's Fisheries Protection Zone. The judgement against the company remains in place.

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The background for the case just ruled upon by the Supreme Court is the trawler Kiel was seized by the Norwegian Coast Guard on Sept. 4, 2012, in the fisheries protection zone outside of Hopen with an excessively high amount of haddock in its catch. EU vessels can have a maximum admixture of 19 percent, and the Deutche Fishfang Union and the Iceandic captain were fined 40,000 kroner and 15,000 kroner, respectively. The fines were not accepted, resulting in the matter ending up in court.

The company claimed Norway operates discriminately in the fisheries protection zone, contrary to the principle of equal treatment in the Svalbard Treaty, but lost in both District Court and the Court of Appeal. Both ruled the treaty no longer applies more than 12 nautical miles from land.

Last week the Supreme Court also rejected the claim of the German shipping company. In its ruling, the court acknowledges negative economic consequences for EU vessels in that fishing is less effective, but Norway has the right to discriminate by nationality and the regulations laid down are in the interests of managing the stock.

The Supreme Court has twice previously addressed issues concerning treatment in the fisheries protection zone. The high court then took no position on the validity of the zone. In its consideration the appeal by the Deutche Fishfang Union, the Supreme Curt concludes the regulation of fishing in the fisheries protection zone is not in violation of the equal treatment principle.

"Consequently there was no need for the Supreme Court to decide whether the Svalbard Treaty is actually applicable within the protection zone," the court's ruling states.

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