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North Sea consultation body takes important steps towards final adoption of the North Sea Agreement

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15 April 2020 – At the meeting of the North Sea consultation body (NZO) of 15 April, almost all parties, after consultation within their own constituencies, ratified the agreement as reached on 5 February 2020.

The Agreement is binding on the energy organisations NOGEPA, EBN and TenneT. It will also be binding on NWEA, although further consultations will be needed between NWEA, the Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Policy and the independent chairman of NZO, Jacques Wallage, concerning the possible accretion of financial and legal risks for the wind energy sector as a result of the Agreement.

The Port of Rotterdam Port Authority and the Seaports Industry Organisations have now ratified the negotiated deal.

The same applies to the NGOs: the North Sea Foundation, WWF Nederland, Greenpeace, Natuur & Milieu, Vogelbescherming Nederland and Natuurmonumenten.

Visned, which acts as the spokesperson for several fisheries and producer organisations within the North Sea consultation body, sees good opportunities to finally ratify the Agreement as soon as supplementary arrangements can be agreed within the fisheries policy concerning the future prospects of shrimp fishing and innovation policy funding. The Minister of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality has already expressed her willingness to do this. The stated expectation of final approval by the participating organisations is also based on the willingness of the North Sea consultation body to consider amending the deal as negotiated. The entire Frisian Front will no longer be closed to bottom-trawling, but protection of 15% of the area will eventually be achieved in valuable natural areas of the North Sea by 2030. This would make it easier to ensure that the burden is shared fairly between the various fishing communities. The partners in the North Sea consultation body hope to finally agree these supplementary arrangements within a few weeks before ratifying the Agreement.

The Dutch Fisheries Association ('Nederlandse Vissersbond') has found itself unable to sign up to the Agreement as negotiated. Nor has it been able to offer the North Sea consultation body any insight into the conditions under which it could agree. Because the North Sea consultation body is founded on the North Sea Agreement, the Dutch fisheries Association will no longer be part of the body. All parties hope that the Fisheries Association will eventually be able to accept the North Sea Agreement and re-join the North Sea consultation body.

The government delegation in the North Sea consultation body reaffirmed the motivation of the competent ministers to see this Agreement implemented and to further develop cooperation between the government and the parties supporting it.



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