UK fisheries on track for major post-Brexit boost as £6.5 billion on table after EU break
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The future of UK fisheries have been a hotlyp-debated point of contention in the Brexit negotiations between the United Kingdom and the European Union. The bloc has sought to maintain access to British waters in the aftermath of withdrawal while the UK Government demanded they relinquish full control back to Britain. Paul Lines, the chairman of the Lowestoft Fishing Alliance, told Un-locked Brexit is an opportunity for fisheries to get a £6.5 billion boost after years of “demise.”
Mr Lines said: “We’ve been demised as a nation and pushed down until there’s nothing left.
“If we get our way with Brexit, when we got the 54 percent of fish back that flagships now have, and we get zonal-attached fish, our fish take from net plat could be £6.5 billion.
“No government could ever turn that amount of money away and they should be behind people in this country who’ve worked hard to rebuild an industry.”
The fishing activist insisted he wants to ensure the British industry recovers after years of failure to invest to provide younger generations additional employment opportunities.
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Mr Lines pointed out at the state of UK vessels compared to European fishing boats as an example of the downfall the sector has been subjected to.
He continued: “I just want to see an industry that’s fit for young people to start work, and I want to see a fair industry.
“I don’t want any of these double standards that have been played to us all over these years.
“We’ve been promised everything but we’ve actually just seen demise, demise, demise. If you look at foreign fishing fleets, the answer is there.”
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He continued: “They’re pretty, they’re gayly painted, they’re new, they’re innovative.
“Look at England – you’ve got old men still going to sea in old boats they had when they were 30. And we’ve lost it all.
“I’m afraid my last breath will be taken fighting for a fair deal for British fishermen.”
In the event of a no deal, the UK would regain full access control to its Economic Exlusive Zone (EEZ), meaning EU vessels would lose every right to fish in British waters.
Theoretically, a no deal would be more advantageous to the UK as fishermen would no longer have to compete with their European counterparts and the strict quota system would no longer apply.
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The UK would also have to abide by the United Nations Convention for the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and continue to grant access to the Total Allowable Catch (TAC) British vessels are unable to fish.
And the EU may also seek to pressure the UK into a future agreement by imposing most-favored nation tariffs on any fish and fisheries the UK may seek to export to the bloc.
However, the high dependency of EU fishermen on British waters could push Brussels into agreeing to a favourable deal for the UK to avoid potential disruption to the stock European vessels have long had access to.
UK negotiator Lord Frost said there is still a chance for the UK and the EU to come to an agreement despite the persistent divergence on fishing.
He said: “On fisheries the gap between us is unfortunately very large and, without further realism and flexibility from the EU, risks being impossible to bridge.
“These issues are fundamental to our future status as an independent country.”
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