Norwegian fisherman on a purse seiner. (Photo: Odin Hjellestad/Copyright: FIS)
What the British can learn from Norway before considering life outside EU
Wednesday, June 01, 2016, 22:00 (GMT + 9)
Ahead of a June 23 referendum on whether to quit the European Union, Britons are looking across the North Sea to Norway for clues on what life could be like outside the bloc.
The oil-rich Norwegians clearly have done OK. A free-trade deal ensures they enjoy almost the same access to the union's giant market as if they were EU members. But to keep those trade ties smooth, Norway has had to adopt most EU directives, without having a say when they were decided in Brussels.
Norway doesn't have to share its lucrative fishing waters with EU nations. The Common Fisheries Policy, which divided up European waters and sets limits on how many fish can be caught, was a big reason why the seafaring country voted "no" to EU membership in 1972 and 1994.
Plentiful stocks of cod and other white fish suggest it can happily manage its own waters.
Fishermen in northern Norway say the industry supports many small coastal communities that would have struggled if they had to compete with foreign trawlers in their own waters.
"Maybe nothing would be left for these small societies," said Paul Jensen, a fisherman from the village of Ersfjordbotn. "Only snow and ice and skiing."
But being outside the EU also means Norway has to pay tariffs to sell its fish to European consumers. The tariffs ratchet up for smoked or other treated products. So Norwegian fish farmers often choose to export untreated salmon to EU member Poland and smoke it there instead.
Source: AP/David Keyton