Thomas Pringle TD

Fishing & Brexit – Thomas Pringle TD

Fisheries & Brexit It is clear how much fishing depends on UK waters and the agreement that is in place. For high-value...

Posted by Thomas Pringle TD on Monday, 15 June 2020

It is clear how much fishing depends on UK waters and the agreement that is in place. For high-value stocks, such as mackerel and prawns, we depend on access to UK fishing waters, with 60% of some stocks coming from UK waters. It was reported in the EU observer that on fishing quotas where the EU indicated an agreement was a prerequisite to a broad trade deal, there has been little progress, although Brussels seemed to try to move away from that original position.

It also reported that EU countries such as France, the Netherlands, Ireland and Denmark, which largely benefit from the current system, might nevertheless insist on a tough line. It seems that we had to step in to stop the EU rowing back on that agreement and to ensure fishing will be linked in to the final trade agreement. What are we going to do? If France or one of the other countries in that group moves away from that position, we are finished, and the EU trade deal will go ahead.

It has been reported today by Reuters that the French Parliament has put a report to the French Government on fishing, which states that the Union must continue to guarantee that fishing will not be sacrificed to save other sectors. EU diplomats told Reuters last month the EU was willing to shift its stance on fisheries and move from the maximalist position of maintaining the current position in order to help forge a trade deal with Britain. It is clear, therefore, that movement has taken place.

Is further movement taking place or is the Minister of State satisfied that this movement has stopped, fishing is now back in the fold and fishing stocks will be dependent on a final trade deal? Will the minister categorically clear up that issue? We are in a difficult position because we cannot rely on the Brits to look after us and I believe that, ultimately, we will not be able to rely on the European Union either.