Brexit: Dominic Raab addresses plans to defend UK fisheries
The issue of fisheries has remained one of the main areas of divergence between the two sides with Brussels demanding continued access to Britain’s rich waters. With time running out, an EU official has insisted the issue has now become the main sticking point over talks. Despite an agreement now made over non-regression clauses within fair competition, no compromise has been made on fisheries and is, therefore, threatening the future of EU fishing fleets.
One official said: “The main problem is fish.
“We’re still an ocean apart.”
Within fisheries, the two sides have failed to agree on access to the UK’s waters and quota shares.
Michel Barnier had offered an 18 percent return of fishing quotas from UK waters and a 10-year adjustment period for fleets.
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The Government has, in turn, demanded all UK-flagged ships to now be British-majority owned in the future.
By doing this, ships would need to operate under UK standards rather than EU regulations.
An agreement is vital for the survival of EU fleets due to the UK’s rich fishing waters.
According to analysis compiled by the Marine Management Organisation, French fleets caught 120,000 tonnes of fish from UK waters which was valued at £171million in 2018.
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Both the Netherlands and Denmark also caught fishing stocks valued at £92 and £90million respectively.
Speaking today, EU Commission President, Ursula von der Leyen, stated Brussels must defend European fishermen.
She added: “We do not question the UK’s sovereignty on its own waters.
“But we ask for predictability and stability for our fishermen and our fisherwomen.
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“And, in all honesty, it sometimes feels that we will not be able to resolve this question.
“But we must continue to try to find a solution and it is the only responsible and right course of action.”
Such is the dire complications for European fishermen, French fleets have warned the industry may die in the country without access to Britain’s waters.
If access to UK’s waters is restricted in the new year, French fishermen have stated competition waters may spark conflict between fleets.
One fisherman, Nicolas Margolle said: “If there’s a no deal it’s going to be complicated because European boats won’t have access to British waters anymore.
“So we’re all going to find ourselves in the French strip – with all the Belgian, Dutch boats, the French, of course.
“There’s never going to be enough room for everyone.
“And so the resources are going to be wiped out.”
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