The Boris £4.8bn Fisheries Black Hole

by Fishing For Leave

No wonder British fishermen and coastal communities are furious and feel betrayed yet again. As in 1973 British fishing has been bartered for a deal with the EU. Boris has achieved what he said to the House of Commons in July 2019 was “a reprehensible thing to do” bartering British fishing.   He can be proud that he is Ted Heath Mak2!

The level of failure on what the UK should have repatriated is exposed. The “Trade Deal” only regains 14% of what the UK should have achieved. EU access to UK waters will not change for 5.5 years.

The deal reveals the shocking failure of the government to come anywhere close to what the UK should have regained of its own fisheries resources had the UK had left the Transition period (where it continued to obey the CFP) without fishing being compromised as part of a Trade Deal.

British fishing being bartered for a wider trade deal is one of the first times globally that a nation has sacrificed its rightful share of fisheries resources to gain a deal. Norway, Iceland and Faroe sell huge amounts of seafood into the EU market without compromising their independence on fisheries.

The terms of the deal restrict the UKs sovereignty far more than that of Norway, Iceland or Faroe. The effect of the deal is fisheries will be run by a joint EU/UK Committee, with the EU desperate to maintain the status quo which so benefits it. This committee effectively hands the EU a veto over any policy changes regards access to waters or quota shares.

Had the UK defaulted to being an independent coastal state, with complete freedom over access and quota shares, the UK would have moved to quota shares based on the international principle of Zonal Attachment. (Where Coastal States receive shares of Total Allowable Catches (TACs) – i.e quotas – based on the predominance of a species in that states waters).   

What the UK should have, based on its rich fishing waters, is in stark contrast to the shares it currently receives under the CFP mechanism of Relative Stability shares. It is these shares which have proved so egregious in comparison to the level of catches and therefore level of species found in UK waters.

The increase the government has secured in UK share of quotas, which it vaunts as being a successful compromise, are a pittance compared to what should have been. The governments much publicised figure is a gain of 25% slowly achieved over 5.5 years.

The calculation that gives a percentage can be arrived at in many ways. It appears the government is achieving 25% by adding what is regained against what is already held rather than as a percentage of what the UK should have. With the UK on such low shares across nearly all species, any increase will always look good when compared to such a low initial amount. When compared to what should be the case the government’s efforts wilt to risibility.

Utterly shameful!

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