Brexit: Michael Gove defends fishing arrangements in deal
Michael Gove has defended the UK Government against claims that the Brexit deal has sparked a “huge amount of disappointment” in the fishing sector. Under the terms of the deal, EU fishing fleets will have their access to UK waters reduced by 25 percent gradually over a transition period of five and a half years. Sky News host Stephen Dixon confronted Mr Gove about furious reactions from industry officials like The National Federation of Fishermen’s Organisations (NFFO) chief executive Barrie Deas, who said fishermen had been “sacrificed”.
Mr Dixon said: “The fishing industry was actually a key factor in pushing for Brexit.
“We know that the fishing industry were very pro-Brexit.
“You’re from a fishing family. You’ve got a vested interest in all of this.
“There does seem to be a huge amount of disappointment in the fishing sector that you’ve, as they see it, sold them down the river, to an extent.”
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Mr Gove replied: “I do sympathise with the people in the fishing sector because life in the Common Fisheries Policy has been very very difficult.
“But we’re out of the Common Fisheries Policy now, it is the case that under this deal we increase our amount of fish in our own waters that we can catch.
“Beforehand we could only catch about half of the value of the fish in our waters.
“Now we can go on to catch two-thirds, and, indeed, in five years’ time we can go on to catch even more.”
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He continued: “So, of course, we would have liked to have been in a position where it was only three years before we could exercise those additional rights.
“The EU were originally saying it would have to be 14 years. So we got them down from 14 to five and a half.
“At the end of those five and a half years, we’ll have total control.”
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After the five and half year transition period, quotas will be decided by annual negotiations.
The deal will increase British fishermen’s share of fishing rights in UK waters from about a half to two-thirds.
EU ambassadors are due to meet in Brussels to discuss the agreement.
In Westminster, the UK Government will tell businesses to make final preparations before the transition period ends.
On December 30, Parliament is expected to approve the deal before it kicks in on December 31.
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