BRITAIN’S withdrawal from the European Union will provide opportunities to address historic injustices, the National Federation of Fishermen’s Organisations has said.
But that does not rule out sensible bi-lateral agreements between the UK and other European countries, it insists. The NFFO also expects the government to provide the same level of financial support that was previously provided by the EU.
In a statement issued after a recent executive committee meeting, the NFFO said Brexit now means Britain can take control of UK waters out to 200 miles – or the median line – which will lead to fundamental changes in the way fisheries are managed in future
The statement says: “Quota arrangements and access to UK waters by non-UK vessels will, in the future, be determined by the UK authorities, rather than being imposed by a remote and inflexible bureaucracy and parliament in Brussels.
Brexit will provide an opportunity to address historic injustices in quota distribution and to control how many non-UK vessels fish in our waters, how and where they fish.
“We are certain that both the UK and the remaining EU countries will want to negotiate sensible bilateral arrangement that will allow fair access arrangement for our vessels fishing in EU waters; and EU vessels fishing in UK waters. But the principle of equal access to UK waters will be dead.
“It is essential that as part of the exit agreement the UK negotiates access to EU markets. We also expect the UK to negotiate at least the same fishing opportunities in third country waters that our fleets enjoy today.”
The NFFO went on: “We expect the UK to provide at least the same level of financial support for the fishing industry as has been channelled through European funds.
“We remain committed to the progressive elimination of discards from our fisheries; however any landing obligation that is applied to UK vessels fishing in UK waters must remove the threat of repeated “chokes” that would prevent us from accessing our main economic quotas.
“The management of fisheries is far too complex and important to be left to government and that is why it essential that respected industry representatives are at the heart of the fisheries component of the Brexit negotiations.
“The NFFO has already begun work on detailed policy options for both domestic and external fisheries that reflect the opportunities and challenges presented by the new post CFP regime.”