The Prime Minister’s statement concerning UK withdrawal is of dire concern to the Fishing industry. The Great “Repeal” Bill, although repealing the 1972 European Communities Act, proposes the adoption of the entire Acquis Communautaire (the body of EU law) onto the UK statute book.
“By rolling the CFP into UK law we would have a continuation of all facets of the policy – in effect we would still be in the CFP in all but name.”
If Acquis Communautaire is adopted in full with the Great “Repeal” Bill then the entire CFP will have been transposed into British legislation. Rather than being imposed upon the United Kingdom directly through EU regulations we will have adopted the disastrous CFP in its entirety.
Due to the CFP being constructed entirely of Regulations, UK withdrawal should represent a clean slate for fisheries and allow a new fit for purpose British fisheries policy to be implemented that is tailored to Britain’s unique marine ecology and mixed fisheries
Adopting the CFP would squander, for political convenience, the golden opportunity to automatically repatriate, under the terms of Article 50, one of the nation’s greatest renewable resources and rebuild UK fishing and communities.
Regulation 2141/70 gives other EU fishing vessels the right of equal access to fish UK waters as accepted in Article 100 of the UK’s Treaty of Accession and recognises historic rights to do so.
Regulation 101/76 subsumed the UK’s EEZ when created by Parliaments Fishery Limits Act 1976.
Regulation 170/83 recognised the historic rights to fish UK waters and created an EU quota system with relative stability share outs which resulted in approximately 70% of fisheries resources in UK waters being held by other EU member states
Article 50 – Section 3 of the TEU, as agreed by all member states, clearly says ‘the treaties shall cease to apply’ upon withdrawal as detailed on page….. Resultantly all Regulations that constitute the CFP would cease to apply and all control and resources would be automatically repatriated as the UK would revert to international law as per UNCLOS 3.
It is critical to comprehend the significance of Article 50, Section 3. As the entire EU has agreed to this condition of the treaties ceasing to apply there can be no recourse to them under international treaty law and the Vienna convention on treaties to claim continuity of rights established. It is the EU that has agreed to this clean slate of “the treaties ceasing to apply”.
However, by adopting and transposing All EU law of the Acquis Communautaire into UK legislation before Article 50 expires the Government will have deliberately negated this opportunity of a clean break from the EU treaties.
By readopting the Acquis with the Great Repeal Bill and the” terms and conditions” of the treaties the UK will have in effect created continuity and in effect re-acceded to the current rights and obligations.
The EU would thereafter have recourse under international treaty law and the Vienna Convention on treaties to argue for continuity of rights acquired.
Rather than having the strong diplomatic position of a clean break and being free to manoeuvre, the government will have nailed its feet to the floor by re-acceding to the terms and conditions of the Acquis.
Although the UK would be able to repeal the transposed terms of the CFP the EU would argue that the government had acquiesced to continued continuity of the CFP by adopting it regardless of for how long.
The UK would have locked itself into the continuation of the ecologically disastrous EU Quota regime and the mass discarding it causes. It would also in effect acquiesce to the continuation of Relative Stability Share outs of this EU quota to other EU member states allowing the EU to continue to take 60% of the British people’s resource.
This would be a worse position than before Brexit and would be diplomatic folly. Rather than being bound under EU law to implement the CFP the UK government would have adopted accepted, recognised and continued the CFP in full.
This would mire the government in a no win situation of a battle to either remove EU fishermen from a policy that it had adopted or face irate British fishermen and the public. In short this CFP roll over would be perceived as the second abject betrayal of Britain’s resources.
The same issues would apply to other subjects which, along with fisheries, the EU is already legislating to make a fight on. Essentially the Great “Repeal” Bill is a mechanism for the UK establishment to keep the UK in the EU seditiously. It is playing at “in Europe but not run by Europe”.
There is the danger that fisheries will be lower on the agenda than many other issues and there will be little parliamentary impetus to repeal fisheries regulations in the face of EU opposition. By the time the UK government could look to help UK fisheries there may be very little left to save.
It is conceivable that to avoid being contentious over fisheries the government would not fight for the repatriation of British fishing. If the government means to “take back control” with a “clean” Brexit then there is no point in rolling CFP fisheries into UK law rather than exempt it to avoid such a diplomatic embroilment as detailed above.
There is the huge danger that, with the current CFP management derogation due to be renewed in 2022, the UK could plausibly mirror all EU measures and run a concurrent policy to the EU to avoid politically inconvenient divergence.
This would mean nothing at all would change for the fishing industry unless Parliament decided to Repeal the sections pertaining to fisheries.
Therefore, to be diplomatically and electorally astute, the only way that Brexit can mean Brexit, is if the government exempts fisheries from the Great “Repeal” Bill.
If this does not happen then the industry will remain enmeshed in the CFP for years to come, continuing the decline caused by the CFP, as all the regulations are slowly unpicked.
Fisheries must not be sacrificed in the wider agenda for political convenience in unison with a minority of vested interests who would acquiesce to the status quo. This would not be Brexit and would squander a golden chance to rejuvenate one of the nation’s great renewable resources for all.
To take back all fisheries will be controversial however Fishing for Leave hopes the government has the courage to do so and to hold this industry as a beacon that Brexit means Brexit.
“Fishing for Leave stringently asserts that the government must exempt fisheries from the Great ‘Repeal’ Bill or instantaneously repeal all adopted fisheries Regulations.”
There is a Petition to Parliament available that will help further the cause of the British Fishing Industry.