British fishermen have criticised Prime Minister Boris Johnson “for having caved in on fish”, in the aftermath of the Brexit deal.
“There will be an extensive public relations exercise to portray the deal as a fabulous victory, but it will inevitably be seen by the (British) fishing industry as a defeat,” the National Federation of Fishermen's Organisations (NFFO) said.
Common Fisheries Policy
Starting January 1, 2021 the United Kingdom leaves European Union’s Common Fisheries Policy. However, as per the trade deal agreed on December 24, the current rules will remain largely in place during a transition period that will last until June 2026.
After that period, there will be annual consultations to establish the level and conditions for EU access to British waters.
The NFFO said the fishing industry had been sacrificed by Johnson. It said the UK’s share of North Sea saithe increases from 23 percent to 26 percent in steps over 5 years, leaving the lion’s share in EU hands. In the case of Celtic Sea haddock, the UK’s share will have increased from 10 to 20 percent, leaving 80 percent in the hands of the EU fleets
“In the meantime, EU fleets have free access to fish in UK waters – including up to six miles of the shoreline in the areas where it matters.”
The organisation said that “the most egregious feature of the outcome announced on Christmas eve has been the failure to secure an exclusive 12-mile limit to protect our inshore fisheries.”
It added that throughout the fishing industry there is a profound sense of disillusionment, betrayal, and fury that “after all the rhetoric, promises and assurances, the government caved-in on fish.”
The British government said the trade deal reflected the United Kingdom’s new position as a sovereign independent coastal state and provided for a significant uplift in quota for UK fishers, equal to 25 percent of the value of the EU catch in UK waters.
But Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, the leader of the Scottish National Party, criticised the British government. “The Tories have sold out Scottish fishing all over again. Promises they knew couldn’t be delivered, duly broken,” Sturgeon wrote on Twitter.