BRITISH fishermen have praised the release of the UK’s draft fisheries agreement while demanding officials must not let the country down.
With Brexit negotiations progressing during the coronavirus pandemic, the UK Government has revealed its Draft Fisheries Negotiation position tonight. Within the draft agreement, each party will manage its own fisheries independently and respective fishing opportunities in the zones. Following the release of the agreement, pro-Brexit group, Fishing for Leave praised the overall context of the agreement, while insisting the Government must push forward with its demands.
They said in a statement: “The proof is in the detail and whether there is no collapse and a follow through on this good broad outline.
“Britain holds the whip hand, EU consumers need/are dependent on fish caught in British waters.
“We must not back down from being achingly close to righting the wrong inflicted upon fishing by Ted Heath and regaining our greatest natural resource to exorcise an injustice and rejuvenate British coastal communities with a £6-8billion industry.
“We wish you God speed David Frost, please dont let us down!”
The draft agreement also states any vessel must “obtain an authorisation and a licence from that other Party” in order to use the waters.
A list of eligible vessels must also be provided by the EU and given to the UK.
Overall, the agreement is based on Norways deal with the bloc whereby fishing quotas are negotiated on a yearly basis.
The UK’s draft agreement can, if needed, be suspended for three months with a view of an amicable resolution.
Either party can also terminate the agreement two years from written notice.
Although praising the overall basis of the deal, Fishing for Leave did state the UK must legislate for the amount of fish within the UK’s zone, the recognition of the UKs reciprocal value of its fishing opportunities and ensure any UK fishing vessel is 60 percent British owned.
Ahead of the release of the agreement today, Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, Michael Gove stated access to UK waters was a priority for the Government.
He said: “Access to our waters will be on our terms, and the beneficiaries of that will be our fishermen in Cornwall and elsewhere.”
Mr Gove also stated talks had ended constructively on Friday although there were still major differences on principle.
He also added: “The EU essentially wants us to obey the rules of their club, even though we are no longer members, and they want the same access to our fishing grounds as they currently have, while restricting our access to their markets.
“It remains difficult to reach a mutually beneficial agreement while the EU maintains such an ideological approach.”
Away from the issue of fisheries, the UK and EU remain at loggerheads over the concept of a level playing field, demands on labour, state aid and tax.
Britain has also called on the EU to notify the Government before it suspends or freezes out UK financial services from the single market after Brexit.
Speaking last week, the EUs chief negotiator, Michel Barnier declared he was “still determined” but not optimistic about agreeing on a deal.
The UK left the EU on January 31 and is currently in the transition period of proceedings.
The transition ends on December 31, 2020, although there have been increasing calls to apply for an extension.
The UK Government has repeatedly stated it will not ask for an extension despite pressure to do so due to the coronavirus pandemic.