Save Britain’s fishing

Dear Mr Bridgen MP ,

Following the mass demonstration of 200 vessels and thousands of public supporters on Sunday 8th, I write to you due to my abhorrence over the Transition deal and the dire existential threat it presents to what’s left of Britain’s fishing industry and coastal communities within the 21months, along with the longer term legal implication of a potential protracted legal fight it creates.

The government must ratify this transition as part of the withdrawal agreement and treaty with parliamentary approval. The terms of the transition subject the UK to re-obeying all EU law, including all new laws, after Brexit and the official termination of our current membership.

This negates and squanders the clean slate provided by Article 50 that states the “treaties shall cease to apply” and with that all accrued rights and obligations – including the disastrous, inept Common Fisheries Policy. This would automatically repatriate our waters and resources to national control by reverting to international law

Being trapped in the 21month Transition means the EU will be free to enforce detrimental legislation to cull what is left of the British fleet. The EU has every incentive to do to enable it to use international law under UNCLOS Article 62.2 to claim our resources we would no longer have the fleet to catch

The EU can do so using the inept EU quota system which is wholly unsuited to UK mixed fisheries and which forces fishermen to catch and then discard en-mass to find species their quota allows them to keep. As of 2019 there is to be full enforcement of the EU discard ban which addresses the discard symptom not the quota cause.

As of 2019, when a vessel exhausts its smallest quota it must cease fishing – vessels must tie up early in the year. Public body SeaFish calculates approximately 60% of UK resources will go uncaught and resultantly a similar proportion of what is left of the British fleet will go bankrupt.

Contrary to bland assurance, obeying the CFP means the EU has sole power to alter the ‘relative stability’ share outs of resources and is free to do so to the UKs detriment. The 12mile limit which gives protection to our inshore and shell-fishermen along with nursery grounds can also abolished – it may terminate on withdrawal.

Worse, because the transition is part of a new treaty after Brexit it exposes the UK to a potential protracted legal fight over continuity of rights under Article 30 & Article 70 of the Vienna Convention on Treaties. Article 70 states the termination of a treaty does not affect any rights or obligations…unless the treaty otherwise provides, or the parties otherwise agree”. Article 50 states & terminates current rights but the transition treaty has no such clean guillotine exit clause!

There is real danger the EU could subject the UK to a legal battle after 21 months for continuation of rights which the UK will have re-created by re-obeying all EU law in a new Transition treaty. The Transition renders all government and MP commitments, promises and assurances to reclaim British waters as worthless!

It is imperative for the survival of fishing communities in a multitude of constituencies that the capitulation of fishing being imperilled in a transition is reversed and the Prime Minister commits to all sovereignty and control over all waters and resources within the UKs EEZ reverting to Westminster at 11pm on 29th March 2019. Failure to do so would be a tangible demonstration that there is no intention of making a serious stand on fishing or Brexit nor fulfilling “taking back control of our borders” of which fishing is an ‘acid test’ of Brexit.

I hope that as Member of Parliament your constituents can count on your full support in ensuring No Deal Is Better Than A Bad Deal & that fisheries are therefore exempted from the transition so MPs are not responsible for a second betrayal & sacrifice of Britain’s coastal communities which the public will not be forgiving of.

Yours Sincerely

Mr Philip Hunt

My MP Reply  16 April 2018

Dear Philip,

Thank you for contacting me about the impact of the UK’s decision to leave the European Union on the UK’s fishing industry.

I am pleased to say that in withdrawing from the EU the UK will be leaving the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP), which allows all European vessels to fish between 12 and 200 nautical miles of the UK and sets quotas for how much fish each nation can catch. We will also withdraw from the earlier 1964 London Fisheries Convention, which allows vessels from five European countries to fish within six and 12 nautical miles of the UK’s coastline.

The CFP has had a profound impact both on the UK’s coastal communities and on the sustainability of our fish stocks. Since 2010 the UK has led reforms, but 40 per cent of fish stocks in the Atlantic, North Sea and Baltic Sea are still being fished at unsustainable levels.

By leaving the CFP, taking back control of our territorial waters, granting access to other countries and allocating quotas all on the basis of what is scientifically sustainable; we can set and follow the very highest standards in marine conservation. At the same time we can support the revival of our coastal communities.

With UK control of waters in our exclusive economic zone we can not only husband fish stocks more wisely, but also ensure that we allow our fishing industry to grow sustainably in the future. Outside the EU, as an independent coastal state, we can be home to world class fishing fleets as well as proving ourselves environmental leaders.

Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.

Andrew Bridgen

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