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Westminster has unveiled new proposals to split additional quota’s which No10 gained in the Brexit negotiations between England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. New proposals revealed by DEFRA hope to strike a balance with fishermen with new provisions which will be obtained through the UK Government’s Fisheries Bill.
The Fisheries Bill creates the powers for the UK to operate as an independent coastal state and manage its fish stocks sustainably outside the EU is currently in process.
The Bill also ends current automatic rights for EU vessels to fish in British waters.
However, a deal with Brussels on fisheries is yet to be reached as crunch talks between UK and Brussels negotiators are ongoing
Lord Frost is engaged in intensive negotiations ahead of Thursday’s summit of EU leaders, which the Prime Minister has set as a deadline for progress on a deal.
Mr Johnson has told his Cabinet that trade negotiations with the EU are at “a crucial stage” but he believes a deal can still be done.
The UK government have released a new post-Brexit Fisheries plan (Image: Getty )
The latest round of Brexit talks are currently taking place (Image: Getty)
But Michael Roth, Germany’s Europe minister, suggested the UK would have to give further ground on fishing rights as well “level playing field” arrangements such as state subsidies, and the way any deal would be governed.
No10 stressed they wanted to secure “additional quota in these negotiations – over and above what we had before we left the EU – and we need to be ready to allocate any additional quota we secure”.
They stressed it needed to consult with all nations about how we” apportion this additional quota between the four UK fisheries administrations.”
Thy added the devolved administrations will be “responsible for allocating quota” in their parts of the UK.
The UK Government paper produced by DEFRA also made clear that they were “not proposing any change to how we apportion the UK’s existing share of the quota” between administrations.
Scotland has vented anger at the consultation (Image: Getty)
It added: “Given that we will not know how much additional quota we will secure until negotiations conclude it is highly likely that the method we put in place for apportionment in 2021 will change in future.
“We don’t want to tie ourselves into a new method if it doesn’t work.
“Our aim is to share additional quota fairly with benefits realised across the UK.
“All administrations should gain as a result of us leaving the EU.”
Among the five options being included is an additional quota based on the geographic location of the fishing stocks.
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No.10 are hoping for a deal by Thursday (Image: Getty)
A second option would involve sharing the additional quota based on historic uptake.
This option would take into account previous landings of fish by vessels registered in each UK nation.
A third option is to share the additional quota based on the capacity of the fleet in each part of the UK.
A fourth choice would see the UK government sharing an additional quota according to the policy priorities of each UK nation whilst a final option would be a hybrid consisting of the four other choices.
However tonight, SNP ministers in Edinburgh said the plans were too late.
Scottish Rural Affairs Secretary Fergus Ewing MSP has raised concerns (Image: Scottish Parliament )
Tensions between London and Scotland have been extremely tense over fisheries with Westminster snubbing requests by senior Scottish ministers to take part in discussions.
In a statement tonight, the SNP led administration said: “Access to quota and frictionless trade with our vital export markets is key for fishing communities the length and breadth of Scotland.
“However, we are concerned at this very late stage that the UK Government’s objectives in negotiations with the EU are simply undeliverable.
“If there are any increases in quota, then we would expect an equitable share, in line with fishing activity and the value of fishing to Scotland.”
At the same time, Fergus Ewing MSP, Scotland’s Rural Economy Secretary said he had seen repeated requests from the Scottish Government to participate in international negotiations on fishing denied.
The Fisheries Bill has had a second reading (Image: Getty)
Mr Ewing recently told Holyrood’s Rural Economy and Connectivity Committee the UK Government denying Holyrood in negotiations would be detrimental.
He added: “We have requested that we be fully involved, our officials have been to some extent.
“The risk is that unless they are to the fuller extent, that we would normally enjoy in the annual round of negotiations in Brussels and also the vital negotiations with Norway, Faroes and Iceland, then there is the risk that decisions are taken without Scotland’s position being fully set out, expanded and advocated, leading to a potential detriment to Scotland.”
A Whitehall source told Express.co.uk in response: “We are treating all four nations equally in this case.
“Scotland have certainly been engaged in discussions and are up to date all the time.
Boris Johnson is hoping that a deal can be secured (Image: Getty)
“The Scottish Government’s comments about neogiations are inaccurate.”
The Bill was approved recently after a second reading in the Commons and will undergo further scrutiny at a later stage.
An SNP amendment to decline the Bill a second reading was rejected by 49 votes to 326, majority 277.
Fisheries Minister and North Oxfordshire MP Victoria Prentis added the Bill “offers us the opportunity to set a gold standard for sustainable fisheries and gives us the powers to protect our precious fish stocks while enabling our seafood sector to thrive”.