Post-Brexit transition fishing deal splits Govt
2017-10-12 18:09:58   copyfrom:    hits:

Prime Minister Theresa May has tried to unblock negotiations with the EU (Photo: Controller of Her Majesty’

Prime Minister Theresa May has tried to unblock negotiations with the EU. (Photo: Controller of Her Majesty’s Stationery Office)


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Tuesday, October 10, 2017, 03:10 (GMT + 9)


In response to Environment Secretary Michael Gove’s pressure on Prime Minister Theresa May to repatriate fishing policy at the end of Article 50, ClientEarth UK claimed that if that is so, the European Union (EU) will almost certainly stop the UK’s free access to its market. 

The environment group made this statement through its fisheries lawyer Amy Hill, who stressed: "Gove knows that the UK does not operate in a vacuum. We share around 100 fish stocks with the EU and other states like Norway and Iceland. If the UK leaves the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) on exit day and begins negotiations to determine what proportion of fish stocks each country gets to catch, those negotiations must respect scientific limits, so the stocks are fished sustainably.”

Hill stressed that the UK cannot take a bigger chunk of fish out of those stocks shared with EU fishing fleets than it gets at the moment under the CFP without the EU giving up a corresponding proportion of its current share.

In her view, this will clearly be no easy task as the bottom line is that sustainability limits must be enforced and respected by everyone involved.

ClientEarth UK’s members recalled that in 2015, 70 per cent of UK fish exports went to the EU, tariff-free, netting the UK more than GBP 900 million, which is something they consider that the UK can ill-afford to lose.

"However fisheries are organised in future, catch limits must be sustainable, fishing activities must be properly monitored, and decision-making must be transparent," Hill pointed out.

On the other hand, referring to the Brexit transition deal, Brussels has warned this could harm prospects of the UK achieving a smooth exit, saying it would “depart from the logic.”

Senior figures have claimed it was a “non-starter from the side of the EU”, and would be opposed by some countries with powerful fishing lobbies like Spain.

While PM May had tried to reset the deadlocked negotiations by offering to agree to a transition agreement where policy trade policy would remain the same for another two years after we leave in March 2019, Minister Gove is arguing that it would be ludicrous to allow the EU to set fishing quotas while Britain no longer had a say on how much could be fished.

The Fisheries Minister claim that if the UK pulled out of the CFP, it would regain the ability to control all fishing within 200 miles off the coast.

Minister Gove is understood to favour a new system which would see the Government grant licences for EU and Norwegian vessels to fish in its waters and be then negotiate the overall quotas.

Amid a divided Cabinet over fishing issues, pro-EU supporters say outside the CFP tariffs would be imposed by the EU upon fish caught by British boats and could harm the industry.

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