- Snow crab decision has implications for oil and minerals
- Non-EU Norway has sovereignty over the Arctic islands of Svalbard
- But the 1920 treaty says other countries can have access
OSLO, Jan 24 (Reuters) – Norway’s Supreme Court will hear arguments on Tuesday over whether EU vessels can fish for snow crab off the Arctic islands north of Norway, in a case that could decide who has the right to explore for oil and minerals in the region.
At stake is whether EU vessels have the right to fish for snow crab, the meat of which is considered a delicacy by gourmets in Japan and South Korea, in the same way as vessels Norwegians.
A Latvian fishing company applied to the non-EU country in 2019 for a fishing license to catch the species, but was refused on the grounds that only Norwegian vessels can.
The Latvian company will claim on Tuesday that it can also under the 1920 Svalbard Treaty, which grants Norway sovereignty over the Arctic islands on the condition that other signatories have access to their territorial waters.
Tuesday’s case has far-reaching implications, according to Oeystein Jensen, a professor at the Fridtjof Nansen Institute in Oslo.
“If the Supreme Court thinks the Svalbard Treaty applies, it’s not just about snow crab, it’s going to be about oil, gas, minerals and fish,” he said. at Reuters. “It’s all or nothing.”
In a sign of the case’s importance to Norway, 15 Supreme Court justices are expected to hear arguments during the four-day session. Most other cases are decided by a panel of just five people.
In 2019, the Supreme Court unanimously ruled that EU fishermen must seek permission from Oslo to fish for snow crab, after the same Latvian fishing company tried to fish off Svalbard. with only an EU license.
Reporting by Gwladys Fouche in Oslo; Editing by Jan Harvey
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Oversees news coverage from Norway for Reuters and loves flying to Svalbard in the Arctic, oil rigs in the North Sea and guessing who will win the Nobel Peace Prize. Born in France and with Reuters since 2010, she has worked for The Guardian, Agence France-Presse and Al Jazeera English, among others, and speaks four languages.
. supreme court norway will hear the crab case snow arctic concerning oil the minerals