Many EU member states are kicking up a fuss about the potential loss of access to British fish.
European fisherman are arguing the continent could suffer a food crisis once the UK regains control of its waters post-#Brexit.
These fears have emerged since Environment Secretary Michael Gove decided to pull Britain out of the 1964 Fishery Convention, which allows European fishermen to fish 6-12 miles from the British coast. This means nations like France and the Netherlands will be banned from accessing British waters in the near future.
Dutch fisherman have demanded that Britain shares its waters with Holland once Britain repeals the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP), which enables the #EU to set quotas for how much fish member states are allowed to catch.
‘France may run out of fish.’
The French Fisheries Minister, Stephane Travert, has also issued a plea for a compromise for joint sovereignty over British fish, fearing that failure to do so will result in France running out of seafood. Last week, the Irish Agriculture Minister, Michael Creed, explained how difficult it would be for the Republic of Ireland to access British waters once it leaves the EU.
Fishermen in Europe are highly dependent on UK fish, with more than half of the seafood produce in the Netherlands caught in British waters. Dutch fishermen have used the North Sea to catch the majority their fish for decades. One of their largest food dishes, herring, comes from Britain.
Cor Lokker, a Dutch fisherman who has fished in British waters for 50 years, told The Daily Express that Brexit will result in a substantial loss of fish.
He said that Mr. Gove‘s decision to pull out of the 1964 Convention was a sign of things to come.
‘The UK will become an independent coastal state.’
Mr. Gove has proposed to take back control of 200 miles of fishing waters once Britain leaves the EU after April 2019. He said he has ambitions for the UK to become an independent coastal state. The Environment Secretary has also made it clear that the CFP will be repealed post-Brexit.
But Mr. Creed lambasted the British Government on RTE for failing to clarify its uncertain Brexit position, saying EIRE must be allowed to access UK waters after Britain quits the EU. He attacked the UK for refusing to declare whether it will remain a member of the EU‘s Customs Union, which imposes a common external tariff on goods entering Europe.
Mr. Travert has called on his government to defend access to waters for coastal fishing to prevent his country from running out of fish. He said France should reach agreements with the UK regarding seafood produce.
‘Vote Leave based their message on lies and populism.’
The Chief Executive of The National Federation of Fishermen’s Organisation, Barrie Deas, said to Express.co.uk that whilst he understands the French are worried about losing access to UK waters, there is no legal basis for his argument. He added that the EU‘s fishing fleets take four times more in value out of British waters than they take out of EU waters, calling for a re-balance in the quota system.
This is not the first time the French Fisheries Minister has attacked Britain’s decision to leave the EU. On a blog post the day after the EU Referendum result was decided, Mr. Travert described the outcome as an earthquake. He attacked Vote Leave, the campaign that led the pro-Brexit side during the vote, for basing their message on lies and populism. He said once the consequences of withdrawal become apparent, it will lead to reflection.
Fishing became a sensitive topic in the days leading up to the EU Referendum result last year. Former UKIP leader Nigel Farage campaigned on a boat alongside British fishermen, calling for the UK to leave the EU. However, they were intimidated by former Boomtown Rats singer, Bob Geldof, and pro-Remain supporters on a ship following them.
Fishermen voted in overwhelming numbers during last year’s EU Referendum for Brexit. The EU became increasingly unpopular with them following the European Court of Justice’s decision during the 1990 Factortame Case, which overturned the UK government’s ban on Spanish fishermen to access British waters. #European Union