• January 10, 2020

There is a rather naive assumption that the so called ‘Boris deal’ will save the UK fishing industry by excluding rampaging EU fishing fleets from UK water. Of course the Isle of Man (though not part of the EU) is for fishery policy inexorably linked to the UK. Indeed didn’t one Tory politician aver we had no fishery limits!

When Boris Johnson and Jean Claude Juncker took to twitter in October to announce their ‘deal’ here is what Euronews had to say about the Fisheries issue just weeks ago:

“One contentious issue — that of fishing rights — is left to be dealt with on another day. The agreement says the EU and UK should do their best to strike a separate deal on access to UK waters for EU fishing boats.”

As many had predicted including the League the Fisheries issue is effectively ‘parked’ and the question of access to EU vessels is likely to become ‘a bargaining chip’ over ‘bigger fish’ such as securing the UKs financial services links with the EU.

It’s certainly not top of Boris Johnson’s list of post Brexit (if he gets there) priorities. With something like 80+% of some north sea species in UK waters currently fished by the Dutch, Danes and Belgians etc it’s unlikely that much will change obviously any post Brexit trade deal will depend on the agreement of these countries and this is an industry worth billions to them.

Sadly the UK fishing industry is likely once again to be a ‘bycatch’ of the Brexit process and end up like sea caught bycatch of old ‘discarded’!

Johnson showed how quickly he could discard his Unionist Allies in the north of Ireland I fear the fishermen of England and the north east of Scotland are in for the same fate.

Bernard Moffatt, Assistant General Secretary Celtic League (10 December 2019)

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