Don’t capitulate! Boris warned Brexit opportunity wasted if fisheries still shackled to EU
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Since the UK formally left the EU back in January, both sides have tussled in trade deal negotiations as neither side has been able to come to an agreement on issues including fishing and state aid.
With Boris Johnson’s October deadline coming and going, both sides are now scrambling for a deal to be agreed before the end of the transition period.
Barrie Deas, CEO of the NFFO, has said Brexit will fix “40 years of working under disadvantageous terms” for the fishing industry, so long as the Prime Minister doesn’t sell out in trade talks.
Mr Deas told Express.co.uk: “I think there is a very wide level of support for the fishing industry right across Parliament, across the political spectrum.
“There is an understanding we got a very bad deal in the 1970s which we have had 40 years of working under disadvantageous terms.
“There is an opportunity to fix that and there would be a very high amount of frustration if that was thwarted at the last minute.”
While Mr Deas believes both sides want to finish the transition period in December with a deal in place, he warned the Prime Minister not to backdown on fishing demands.
He added: “The issue is quota shares and whether the EU is willing to move a substantial distance on quota shares.
“The deal on offer is that EU vessels can fish at some sort of live in UK waters in the future but it needs to be on an equal basis.
“The kind of arrangement the EU currently has with Norway.
“I think if there is a departure from that, from the UK Government after everything, all the insurances that have been given, all the promises that have been given, there will certainly be some uproar in the fishing industry.
“But also there will be political consequences within the Conservative party and cross-party actually.”
During negotiations, the EU has been adamant that it wants to maintain its rights to Britain’s fishing waters.
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Under the controversial Commons Fisheries Policy (CFP), all member states are given access to EU waters via quotas.
As the UK has a large coastal area, critics have often argued the system is unfair.
The UK’s chief Brexit negotiator David Frost suggested a a ‘glide path’ towards an end point for future fisheries could be on the cards.
He said last month: “Provided the end point is one that we wish to get to, there could be some glide path to get there.
“There are quite significant limits of what could be done there.
“I don’t think we would wish to close an agreement that didn’t satisfy the reasonable expectations of UK fishermen.”
But Mr Deas argued any more delay to Brexit would spark increasing fury within the fishing industry.
He said: “I think the industry, having been tied into disadvantaged terms for 40 years, would be somewhat frustrated with any further delay.
“But I think the more important point is how long the glide path would last and what the destination is.
“If there is absolute clarity at the end of it that we would be acting like an independent coastal state and we would have quota shares that reflected the resources in our waters.”
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