A new chapter in the EU-UK relations begins as the UK leaves the European Union and the European Fisheries Alliance (EUFA) believes that it is time to look ahead.
‘Brexit is undoubtably an uncertain moment for European fishermen, their businesses and their communities,’ said EUFA Chairman Gerard van Balsfoort.
‘It is now time to look ahead, acknowledge our mutual interdependence and end this uncertainty. We need to build a new, long-term common framework for sustainable fisheries management. One that preserves the existing distribution of fishing opportunities and upholds mutual access to waters and markets.’
He commented that the upcoming negotiations will provide an opportunity to build a new, strong and long-term joint framework for sustainable fisheries management that benefits both EU and UK fishing fleets and fishing communities across the continent.
As the UK leaves the EU Common Fisheries Policy by the end of 2020, he stressed that there are many centuries of shared use of the seas by fishermen, of which the last four decades have been in close collaboration under a joint management system.
‘The timeframe to negotiate the future relationship between the EU and the UK is ambitious. However, we are confident that if we build constructively on the existing rules and consider fisheries in its wider context of the upcoming economic partnership, we can achieve a new agreement that does justice to the complex reality on the ground,’ he said.
EUFA is setting out its vision of the future in a position paper, entitled Building a sustainable, strong and mutually beneficial joint fisheries management post-Brexit.
EUFA’s position is that the future relationship should be based on four core principles: building the fisheries framework in the context of the wider EU-UK economic and trade relationship, maintaining the current allocation of fishing opportunities for the benefits of EU and UK fleets, maintaining mutual access to waters as well as the continuation of sound, long-term fisheries management for our shared stocks.
‘We are grateful that Michel Barnier and the EU Member States have recognised the challenge inherent to our sector,’ Gerard van Balsfoort said.
‘Both the Withdrawal Agreement and the Political Declaration are a good basis for the upcoming talks. We now have an opportunity to turn political commitments into a concrete, long-term and mutually beneficial fisheries management framework in the context of the overall economic and trade partnership.’