Brexit: Redwood urges government to negotiate new fishing deal
And UK Fisheries Ltd has warned without bilateral agreements, the future for the industry looks very bleak indeed. Mr Johnson confirmed his agreement with the bloc on Christmas Eve, proudly insisting it would ensure the UK takes back control of its seas.
However, an analysis by UK Fisheries Ltd suggested the accord offered little for distant-waters fishermen whose livelihoods are dependent on retaining access to waters outside Britain’s jurisdiction – specifically, Norway, Svalbard, the Faroe Islands, Greenland and Iceland.
The Hull-based company graded the deal in a report published today, awarding marks of F+, D-, E, F- and F- respectively.
Report author Barney White-Spunner said: “The EU deal is done, but for distant-waters fishing it changes nothing.
Boris Johnson signs the trade deal at Number 10 (Image: GETTY)
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Kirkella passes under Tower Bridge last year (Image: GETTY)
“Without bilateral deals with Norway and others, there is no long-term viable distant-waters fishing industry in the UK from January 1.
“We are tired of asking: we demand that the government acts now to save our industry.
“Will the government do the deals needed to keep our crews at work in 2021? Does it intend to?
As of now we don’t know when, or even if, we will be able to put to fish off Norway, our main fishing ground for decades.”
UK Fisheries Ltd’s “scorecard” (Image: UK Fisheries Ltd)
Referring to the company’s new vessel, it adds: “We’ve been telling the same story for more than two years, well before Kirkella was christened at Greenwich in 2019.
“But there is little sign the UK Government has listened.
“Without individual bilateral deals on quotas with Greenland, the Faroes and especially Norway, there is no long-term viable distant-waters fishing industry in the UK from January 1.
“We may be able to scrape by for a few weeks fishing off Svalbard, but that alone can’t keep the industry afloat.”
A fisherman from Scotland at work on the North Sea (Image: GETTY)
Kirkella, pictured on the Thames, is currently moored up in Hull (Image: GETTY)
He added: “What is most frustrating is that all the Government needs to do is agree with Norway (and Greenland and the Faroes) that we can continue fishing on existing terms.
“Or, now that the EU is out of the way, to make better bilateral deals.
Imagine a £50m factory on shore that wasn’t able to work just because the government had failed to hold a negotiation that, compared with the EU deal, will be the simplest imaginable; one that we have been asking it to have for years.
“We know our partners are ready to talk.
EEZs around the UK coast (Image: Express)
What is more, the UK has never before been in such a strong position because of the importance of its markets to our trading and fisheries partners.”
Mr White-Spunner said: “It’s time to regain some of the distant fishing opportunities we lost in the 1980s, and the UK Government just has to get on with it so we can do our jobs.
“The alternative – and one that gets closer for every day that goes by – is a dismal end to English distant waters fishing, an industry that has helped nourish our nation for centuries.
“Yes, that would be the outcome of all those plans to ‘take back control’.
The species of fish most commonly landed in UK waters (Image: Express)
“What truly sovereign government would sit back and allow this to happen to its own fishers?”
Asked about the situation earlier this week, a UK Government spokesman said: “As an independent coastal state the UK has put in place new arrangements to further influence the management of near and distant fish stocks, to best serve the interests of the British fishing industry.
“The UK has secured a Fisheries Framework Agreement with Norway and the Faroe Islands, which provides the legal basis for annual negotiations on fishing opportunities and potential access to each other’s waters.
“Negotiations for fishing opportunities in 2021 will begin imminently.”