FISHERMEN FURY OVER PROTECTION OF UK WATERS
Fishermen fury over protection of UK waters. Brexit supporting fishing group, Fishing for Leave, has lashed out at a leaked civil service email which claims Britain could not stop illegal fishing by EU vessels in the event of a no deal Brexit, according to an article by Luke Chillingsworth in the Express.
The group scorned the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) for their assessment on the UK’s ability to protect its waters after the leaked email was revealed. Defra claimed Britain’s 12 patrol boats could not fully protect the waters after the country leaves the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP). The department claimed Government is not on a strong footing to respond to any threats in an area they say is three times the surface area of the UK.
But Leave-supporting fisherman have hit back at the comments, calling for heavy fines and impoundments for any foreign boats illegally trespassing in UK territory.
The group said:
“For those risking fishing illegally in British waters, when their CFP access rights automatically terminate on Brexit, deterrence through impoundment and heavy fines for release will soon make the novelty wear off. Our Nordic neighbours happily manage to protect their waters and stock sustainability. Britain can too. It’s a question of political will – that will be an acid Brexit test of the PM’s Churchillian mettle.”
The group also reacted angrily to claims the border could not be closely protected by UK ships. They added:
“The main front line is going to be the border zone from the Dogger Bank in the middle of the North Sea all the way round to between the UK and the Republic of Ireland off Anglesey. That’s about 1200 nautical miles. If there’s only four of 12 ships Defra lists deployed at once that’s 300nm for each ship. Steaming at 15kts that’s 20 hours from one sector end top the other. Therefore, a ship could steam up and down line daily, watching out for any EU vessel chancing their arm being a half dozen miles the wrong side of it.”
The leaked email questioned how the UK could deter EU fisherman from entering British waters.
The country will leave the Common fisheries Policy (CFP) if no deal with the EU was secured and the UK would therefore become an independent coastal state. The CFP dictates where fishing can occur and lets boats from any EU country fish in UK waters.
Fishing for Leave argues exiting the EU creates an opportunity to rejuvenate and revive the UK’s fishing industry from its continual decline and consolidation. The group also warned people had become institutionalised by the CFP and fisherman need to look to the long term and not the immediate future.
Polls suggested 92 percent of those in the fishing industry voted to leave the EU after concerns with the CFP.
Part of the policy allows European ships access to UK waters which British fisherman say has ruined their industry. Foreign fishing boats are given access to up to 70 percent of the quotas for ground stocks in Britain. But some experts have warned a no deal exit could lead to conflict between EU and UK fishermen who rely on British waters for their survival.
Speaking to The Independent, Professor Richard Barnes said a lack of clarity over legal rights of fisheries in the event of a no deal Brexit could spark onto chaos.
“A toxic mix of historical grievances, real and perceived unfair treatment, and, in some cases, a lack of clarity about legal rights is bound to result in fishing disputes. Together with inflammatory newspaper headlines, broken political promises and broken livelihoods, we will have all the ingredients for violent confrontations at sea.”
Concerns were raised over potential EU invasions after The Sun found a French fisherman who claimed up to 60 percent of his fish stocks came from UK waters.