Fishing for Leave poured scorn on the EUs No-Deal Brexit plea to continue current reciprocal access and fishing shares. FFL also hammered French fishermen’s leaders veiled threats of violence as “indicative of the true face and attitude of the EU and a pathetic petulant outburst.”

Aaron Brown, head of FFL. said:

“For 40years the EU in cahoots with continental fishermen deliberately engineered exploitationary arrangements of the British peoples greatest natural resource. French fishermen’s statements are a candid admission of this. They confirm the facts and figures that show EU vessels catch 60% of Britain’s fish. In the channel it is more diabolical,  where the EU makes off with 90%”

They have had a spectacular free lunch to the horrific detriment of our coastal communities. Now that free lunch is over we’ve veiled threats and petulance at losing a blatant fiddle. It does their cause of future relationships no good and where was the tears when they legislatively enslaved and violated our industry?”

Fishing for Leave highlighted that the EU industries only card to maintain the status quo was to threaten to disrupt the import of British seafood to the continent:

“Remainers may get excited by this but the industry isn’t worried. We’ll be watching the governments response like a hawk – they shouldn’t use such threat of illegality as an excuse to cave. British seafood will be in even higher demand by continental consumers and businesses with the EU fleet unable to pillage half their catch and 60% of the fish from British waters. There are alternative shipping routes into the EU and EU businesses and consumers will continue to want UK seafood. 

Just as British consumers and Humberside businesses pivoted to direct import of fish when Britain’s distant water fleet lost access to Norwegian and Icelandic waters when they took back control in the 1970s. There is only so long the French can roam the continent burning fish lorries. There is such huge far-eastern and global demand a multitude of British producers are already looking to there where stronger prices have saved sectors such as the Cornish crab fleet.

These threats will not cow the British industry and it must not cow the British government who have the full weight of international law behind them in taking back control of our waters.“

Turning to the EU commissions statement – Brexit preparedness: European Commission contingency proposals to help mitigate impact of “no-deal” Brexit on EU fisheries – Fishing for Leave said this was a huge admission of the EUs vulnerability and the UKs supremely strong position on fishing:

“Control over all our waters and resources will automatically happen on March the 29th as the EU treaties ‘cease to apply’ – as agreed by the EU – and we revert to international law which gives us full control over all our waters and resources out to 200nm. It is the duty of any maritime nation to comply with international law to fish sustainably. As French fishermen recognise the EU must cut its cloth to reflect the loss of British water from the common EU pot – they cannot expect to keep living off Britain’s credit card.”

The EU pleads for a proposal to allow reciprocal access based on current arrangements and shares until the end of 2019 in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

Fishing for Leaves answer was:

“No thanks – this proves Britain holds all the strength regards fisheries. There is little to nothing the EU has to offer us to continue the current exploitation of our waters any longer. This offers the government a moment to finally exercise its muscles in the national interest after a supine effort so far – the response to the EU will be a massive test of the government. 

We should use the EUs desperate need to demand they comply and recognise the UK becoming an independent coastal state and, most importantly, that there will be recognition and no dispute over shares of what are rightfully UK resources. In April 2019 international fisheries arrangements will still be governed under agreements from 2018 where the UK was still subverted as part of the EU.

Arrangements where the EU only gives us 25% of the internationally agreed Total Allowable Catches (TACs) when it should be 60% under the international principle of ‘Zonal Attachment’ – where a nation receives a share based on the predominance of stocks in its waters. The government should clearly state – and MUST legislate in the Fisheries Bill – that we will instantly, as provided by international law, move to ‘Zonal attachment on fish stock shares and that the EU must recognise this.

In return the UK can consider allowing access on strictly our terms, under our law, by issuing temporary annual British licence for EU vessels to fish in British waters on what are our resources under zonal attachment for the remainder of 2019. Thereafter, from 2020 onwards the government must only allow any access or resource swaps on an equal barter basis where we receive an equal value of opportunities in return.”

Aaron concluded:

“This is a huge test for the government – any such arrangement or agreement must be done on our law and terms – not under some international treaty like the Withdrawal Agreement & Transition where we agree to re-obey or continue EU law where the UK remains as a regulatory satellite to the EU and Common Fisheries Policy with London asking how high to jump.

We will be watching the government’s response to this opportunity like hawks.”

 

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