The chief executives of the two main UK fishing industry federations have issued a statement, setting out their support for the UK government’s Brexit negotiating position.
‘For the fishing industry in the UK, leaving the Common Fisheries Policy has always been about redressing a fundamental issue: the woefully unfair allocation of quota shares in our waters, where the EU fleet has an unfettered right of access to the UK’s rich fishing grounds,’ SFF chief executive Elspeth Macdonald and NFFO chief executive Barrie Deas said in a joint statement.
‘The only satisfactory means of ensuring that this is achieved is for the UK, as a sovereign coastal state, to maintain full control over access to our waters.’
They do not rule out access for EU vessels to the UK EEZ, but expect to see this negotiated on an annual basis.
‘Evidently, it would be preferable if the right deal could be agreed, meeting the industry’s objective of control of access to fish in the UK EEZ and fairer quota shares based on zonal attachment, but if an acceptable deal cannot be reached then the catching sector would prefer these issues to be addressed through the annual negotiations process. This is in line with the government’s negotiating position, which we fully support,’ they state, commenting that it is up to the EU to choose which option it prefers.
This means choosing between ‘a stable framework agreement that respects UK sovereignty and follows similar arrangements that the EU has with other coastal states in the north-east Atlantic, or via a more uncertain route for the EU where everything is done through annual negotiations with no framework agreement in place.’