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Commercial Fishing



Russia ready to terminate UK Barents Sea fishing access. Russia is ready to terminate the agreement with the UK, which allows the country’s vessels to fish in the waters of the Barents Sea. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Agriculture have already submitted a corresponding bill to the government. This follows from documents submitted to the Commission on Legislative Activities of the Cabinet of Ministers, which took place on January 15. Izvestia got acquainted with them. The government supported the project, a source in the Cabinet noted.

The governments of the USSR and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland entered into a fisheries agreement in May 1956. According to the document, Great Britain received the right to engage in fishing in the waters of the Barents Sea along the coast of the Kola Peninsula, along the mainland east of Cape Kanin Nos, as well as along the coast of the island of Kolguev plus on the islands. In these waters, ships could freely navigate and anchor. This agreement was concluded for a period of five years with the possibility of permanent extension for a similar period. The document stipulates that the agreement remains in force until one of the parties terminates it.

“The denunciation of the agreement will not cause serious foreign policy and economic consequences for the Russian Federation,” the government documents emphasise. They also say that the Russian authorities are ready to take such a step after the UK excluded Russia from most favoured nation trade status in March 2023. In particular, this state introduced an additional 35 percent tariff on the import of certain Russian goods into the country, including copper and vodka. This was done in order to “inflict maximum damage to the Russian economy while minimizing the negative consequences for Great Britain,” the leadership of this state noted in a statement.

The denounced agreement between the countries is predominantly one-sided and there are no similar or commensurate benefits for Russia, German Zverev, president of the All-Russian Association of Fisheries (VARPE), told Izvestia. The consequences will affect only the second party to the agreement – Great Britain; it will not be able to fish in the Barents Sea.

There will be no risks for Russia as a result of the denunciation of the agreement, since it is exercising its right to terminate this agreement, agrees Nikolai Titov, co-founder of the law firm atLegal.

“Moreover, according to this document, the British authorities were not supposed to provide the Soviet side with anything in exchange for the right of their fishing vessels to enter the territorial waters of the USSR (now Russia),” he noted. “Therefore, there is no reason to talk about any negative consequences for our country.