Home U.K. UK fisheries ready for French ‘disruption’ as angry Paris prepare blockades

UK fisheries ready for French ‘disruption’ as angry Paris prepare blockades

Fishing looks to be one the biggest contested issues in the upcoming UK-EU trade negotiations.The EU already announced an agreement on fisheries is a pre-condition for the kind of free trade deal both sides are working towards. The UK says any such an agreement must be based on the understanding “British fishing grounds are first and foremost for British boats” after Brexit.

Fishermen have battled against Brussels-set quotas which allowed European fleets to take fish from UK waters.

During the post-Brexit transition period until the end of this year, fishing will continue to be governed by the EU’s Common Fisheries Policy (CFP).

Overall, more than 60 percent of the tonnage landed from British waters is caught by foreign boats.

The Government wants to hold annual talks with the EU on access to those UK waters and on quotas, like Norway.

Fishing communities in the UK, which were strong supporters of the campaign to leave, are insisting on this basic change.

Because UK waters are so important, and so bountiful, the EU is under pressure from its own fishing communities to maintain the status quo.

However, hauling in the catches from the sea is only part of the overall picture.

About three-quarters of the seafood landed by UK fishermen is sold to EU countries.

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Barrie Deas of the National Federation of Fishermen’s Organisations (NFFO) said he fully expects blockades from France.

He told The Observer: “French fishermen have done it for much less.

“I would imagine there will be disruption.”

There is a long history of fishing skirmishes between the UK and France, in 2018 there were heated conflicts over scallops.

Fisherman Andrew Trevarton claimed UK fishermen “aren’t naturally a confrontational society”.

It was reported this month concerns are being taken seriously, with Britain beefing up the Royal Navy’s Fisheries Protection Squadron.

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