Aaron Brown from Fishing for Leave expressed his anger at the lack of criticism by government or some media of the false narrative the EU is trying to build that it is a fait accompli that fishing must be sacrificed for a deal. He raged “The EUs threats are absolutely hollow brinkmanship. People must remember these critical points;
- That 70% of UK catches going to the continent means the EU is desperately dependent on UK seafood exports – it is a staple of southern Europe’s diet. That dependency will only increase to critical if the EU fleet is denied the ability to roll over the current unlimited, exploitationary access to UK waters to pillage 60% of our fish which represents a third of their catches.”
- The EU fleet is automatically out and we repatriate our resources as per international law if there is no agreement on fisheries – we don’t need to negotiate anything.
- Many of the species the EU desires from UK waters aren’t readily sourced anywhere else, UK seafood is prized globally and can divert to these markets and tariffs and extra paper work are little impediment to the British industry – especially when weighed against the £6-8bn of resources if we repatriate what is rightfully ours by ending current unfair quota shares where we contribute 50% of the waters and 60% of the catches but only get 25% of the quotas.
- The EU is heavily reliant on UK financial services & the city of London is a global powerhouse that can also diverge and divest into other markets.
Fishing for Leave expressed anger, dismay and worry at both the reasoning as to some of the media parroting the EU narrative without the questions above and also why Downing Street seemed emollient to the EU’s hollow threats rather than swatting them down categorically – they commented that this is making the industry very jittery.
“You’d think folk in HMG would be hitting back a bit harder with what’s at stake with fishing being electorally totemic, especially given the EUs threats are hollow,” Aaron continued. “It’s all very well re-deploying Mrs May’s worn out words of saying ‘we will take back control and be independent coastal state’ – that happens just by virtue of terminating our membership – but if we sign up to roll over current access and quotas along with surrendering to the Political Declaration terms of regulatory alignment through a level playing field then it is independence in name only.”
“Likewise Boris can say he won’t trade fishing away – great – but that could mean he just won’t go below the status quo. Fishing is totemic to millions – they don’t expect taking back control to mean business as usual – they expect it to mean FULL control of our waters, unhindered by the CFP, and repatriating our rightful share of resources worth £6-8bn billions to coastal communities.”
Fishing for Leave highlighted that if the government recognises this public demand and means to deliver then the minimum that MUST be achieved is;
- NO roll over of current access & quota shares and ANY fisheries agreement should be on a strictly ANNUAL basis & any access or quota swaps should ONLY be agreed when the UK receives a reciprocal value of fishing opportunities
- A move to the international principle of Zonal Attachment – where nations have shares of stocks based on the predominance in their waters – & the EU has to cut its cloth to reflect the loss of UK waters to ensure it meets UNCLOS obligation to fish its waters sustainably.
- Complete freedom from the CFP so we are free to exercise exclusive sovereignty over all our waters and resources as per international law. So we have the freedom to implement fit for purpose British policy to husband our waters and resources for generations to come.
“It is as simple as this – the EU’s threats are hollow, economically and diplomatically we needn’t trade fishing or financial services. The billions of resources we can repatriate to rural coastal communities is not insignificant as some like to say and is as equal to any disruption the EU can inflict on the global power-house that is the city of London.”
“We appeal to Boris and his team to realise there is a hell of a lot more riding on fishing than fishermen, finance or economics. If there is a second deliberate sacrifice of British fishing, which is totemic in the publics’ mind, it will hammer and haunt the Conservatives more than Ted Heath.”
“Heath’s surrender was the bread and butter that sustained the SNP in fishing constituencies in North East Scotland for decades. The opportunity of Brexit to right Heath’s wrong – and SNP opposition to Brexit – is the reason those seats turned Tory.”
“A second sell out will cost a host of coastal constituencies, especially those Scots constituencies upon which the Union depends to the SNP. That is the critical point – fishing doesn’t stand in isolation – it’s surrender can easily break the back of the Union of Great Britain – that is a far higher price than any marginal benefit any trade off for fishing will ever obtain.”