Choose wisely! British fishermen send ferocious warning to EU as final decision looms

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A deal is yet to be struck between UK and EU negotiators as fisheries – as well as governance and the level playing field – remain outstanding. The negotiations will continue remotely from today but EU officials stressed they wanted Mr Johnson to take a hands-on role on negotiating away the blockages.

The Scottish Fishermen’s Federation (SFF) submitted evidence to Holyrood’s Europe Committee warning the UK must control access of non-UK vessels to the UK’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).

In the paper, the group, which represents Scottish fishermen, warned the EU’s mandate was “unrealistic” in demanding little change from the current arrangement under the Common Fisheries Policy (CAP), which the UK will leave on December 31st.

Currently, under the CFP, the UK is entitled to less than 40 percent of all fish caught in their own EEZ.

The Federation said they supported the UK Government’s position after Boris Johnson said he would remain firm and secure a deal which would not undermine the sovereignty of the UK.

They added: “We support the UK Government’s continued firm stance in resisting this.

“[We] urge them not make any damaging concessions to the EU’s unrealistic demands as the negotiations move into the final stages, and to and to continue to advance the clear position advocated by SFF.”

They said: “Both the EU and UK want to reach an agreement on trade – it is in the interests of both parties to do so.

“But it is completely unacceptable to expect the UK to concede our sovereign natural resources – to the UK’s great detriment and the EU’s great advantage – for something that both parties would benefit from.”

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Looking to their priorities, they said the UK “must control access of non-UK vessels to the UK’s and be able to negotiate annually on access to fishing opportunities.”

Chief Executive Elspeth MacDonald, said: “The UK is now a coastal state in its own right.

“Until this year, the EU has sat at that table and the UK has sat in the background as part of the EU delegation.

“We now have an independent seat at that table and will be using our—hopefully much greater—influence in that forum to work against unilateral Total Allowable Catches setting and overfishing.

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“We absolutely do not support the actions of some of the coastal states that set unilateral Total Allowable Catches that mean that the stocks are overfished.

“We want that to stop, and we will use our direct influence in those forums to try to achieve that.”

Concluding their submission, the SFF stressed the “EU has a choice”, adding “it is for them to decide which of the two routes it wishes to take.”

Option one would be through a stable framework agreement which “respects UK sovereignty” similar to Iceland or Norway.

 

Otherwise, a more “uncertain route for the EU” where everything is done through annual negotiations with no framework agreement in place is likely.

The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said the Government still wanted to get an agreement “as quickly or as soon as possible”.

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