Danish Prime Minister, Mette Frederiksen, has demanded her nation have access to UK fishing waters in Brexit negotiations in exchange for allowing the UK a deal.

She said:

“When it comes to Brexit, fishing is particularly important for Denmark, because it is a profession that depends on good cooperation with the countries that share the same fishing area. So there is no doubt that fishing really matters”.

It is of no surprise to Fishing for Leave that the Danes are desperate for access to our rich waters – as indeed is the whole EU as the CFP allows them to pillage 60% of the resources from British waters

We ask, are the Danes going to allow the UK to take 60% of the pigs from their famous bacon industry – it’s asking an equivalent.

It’s simple – it MUST be legislated in the Fisheries Bill that there should only be access post-Brexit if it is on a strictly limited annual basis and ONLY when the UK receives a reciprocal value of fishing opportunities in return. All catches from British waters should be landed and processed here to benefit our communities & ensure conservation compliance.

The robbery of 60% of our greatest natural resource must be stopped – ending the EU taking 7 times more from our waters than we get from theirs is an acid test of whether we really have taken back control.

The UK has complete exclusive sovereignty over all waters and resources within our Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) when the CFP “ceases to apply” at the end of the Transition in 2021 – there is no legal obligation to grant access.

It’s brass neck affrontery from the Danes when their fleet of industrial Sandeel vessels strip on average around 200,000 tons of Sandeels from the North Sea annually – a crucial marine food source which they use as pig feed or to burn in power stations.

Britain should use the freedom of Brexit to ban this industrial rape of sandeels that form the natural base of the food chain.

To add insult to injury not only have they smashed the ecosystem but hugely deprived coastal communities. The Danes in particular take a huge volume of primarily pelagic species – such as mackerel and herring for their fleet of huge pelagic vessels such as the Gitte Henning, Ruth & Isafold

The Danes account for a large slice of the 91% of North Sea Herring Quota the EU has – virtually all of which is caught in British water – 221,000 tons worth some £400m in processed value.

Sickeningly, the local fleet all up the east coast from Ramsgate to Peterhead has zero access to the rich Pelagic stocks off our coast. Yet these huge Danish boats take the vast majority of these Herring stocks in the central North Sea just off the British coast.

There’s also some 60,000 tons of West Coast mackerel that can be repatriated primarily from the Danes – worth around £240m processed.

Just these 2 species alone give a small snapshot of the huge £6-8bn pound adrenaline hit to British coastal communities we hope to repatriate with Brexit and see distributed to all fishermen and communities to see whole areas rejuvenated.

This should automatically happen upon withdrawal from the EU when the CFP and its unfair quota shares automatically “cease to apply” as per Article 50. When Britain reverts to international law under UNCLOS which confers exclusive sovereignty over all waters and resources within our Exclusive Economic Zone.

We will automatically be a free independent coastal state entitled to all the resources in our waters under the international principle of Zonal Attachment – where a nation receives shares of stocks based on the predominance of species in its waters.

Based on the predominance of catches of Herring in British waters, for example, Britain should have 81% of the North Sea Herring Quota rather than 9% under EU law.

Sadly re-obeying all EU law, including the CFP, for the Transition period post-Brexit delays this until 2021 – a date the Prime minister is adamant he won’t extend beyond.

As we hit 2021 and cease to obey the CFP for a second time, repatriating these resources can only be squandered by the Conservatives cutting a deal that rolls over current EU access and quota shares as part of the wider future trade deal – bartering fishing away – something Boris Johnson said would be a “reprehensible thing to do”.

That is why fishing must be removed from the Political Declaration which the Withdrawal Agreement legally obliges Britain to ratify as the basis of any future deal.

Then Britain MUST ONLY ever grant limited annual access ONLY when a reciprocal value of fishing opportunities are received – no different than to how Norway, Iceland and Faroe deal with the EU.

Only then will we succeed in taking back control of a multi-billion pound industry that can allow communities to thrive and which will be such an acid test of Brexit being delivered

As for the Danes – they have exploited our waters for decades. They will need to get used to the free lunch being over. Just as Britain’s distant water fleet that fished in Icelandic and Norwegian waters had to when those nations took back control of their waters during the Cod Wars.

No one should ever base a business on robbing someone else’s resources – our message to the Danes – tough.

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