Ireland’s Killybegs Fishermen’s Organisation (KFO) has responded to the UK’s hard-line stance on fishing access by calling for the EU to remove the benefits granted to the UK shortly after it joined the union in 1973.
Three years after joining, the UK was compensated for its potential loss of fishing opportunities in third-country waters as a result of the expansion of the exclusive economic zone in 1976 to 200 miles. This compensation amounted to a volume increase of approximately 26% in fishing opportunities across seven species, which Sean O’Donoghue, CEO of the KFO, would now see removed.
“When you leave a club, you relinquish the privileges that were afforded to you when you were a member. It’s as simple as that. It is crystal clear, the 26% increase in fishing opportunities which was granted by the EU to the UK should end with UK membership.”
“With Britain now playing hardball on fisheries and fighting to double its catch, the EU negotiators must clearly spell out that the starting point in any fisheries negotiations has to exclude any additional catches it obtained, as part of the EU. On top of this, the UK was also in receipt of another inducement in the shape of ‘Hague Preferences’ which amounts to an additional increase in volume in certain stocks,” O’Donghue continued.
“All four Irish producer organizations will be making that point to the Taoiseach, the Minister for Foreign Affairs and the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine tomorrow [Monday] when we meet to discuss the potential impact of Brexit on our industry.”
The European Fisheries Alliance has also said it is in agreement with the KFO that the UK should not be allowed both independent coastal state status while also retaining the benefits of EU membership.