During a “People’s PMQs” Boris Johnson said Britain’s fishing won’t be traded away, something he previously told Parliament would be “a reprehensible thing to do” in July2020.
So Johnson duly did something reprehensible and his government agreed that “supertrawlers” will remain free to plunder Britain’s waters after Brexit, government sources have admitted, as they do not have the powers to implement a blanket ban.
Despite the absurd claim that we have taken back control of our waters, these massive vessels, which throw nets up to a mile long into the sea and are blamed for environmental destruction and depletion of fish stocks, have already been spotted off the UK coast in recent days.
Government sources said that they cannot “exclude these boats altogether”, and can only currently legislate in terms of the type of fishing they do. DEFRA plan to force boats to use CCTV so that bycatch can be monitored. This, they said, was likely to hamper the work of supertrawlers, cannot fail to catch large amounts of protected and non-target species. If these mammoth boats are found to be taking dolphins and other important species they could then be prohibited from fishing in our waters. Well, they are!
Conservative MPs and environmental lobby groups are taking a close interest. They should be looking at “Under international law/normality under Zonal Attachment based on the level of catches of quotas by EU and UK boats in UK waters the UK should have a share of the TACs equating to 66% of the TAC. Some 1,665,461 tons worth some £2.15bn in catch value. When multiplied by an approximate factor of x4 to reach processed value this would be £8.6bn to British coastal communities and this before the wider benefit to ancillary industries is accounted for!
Shockingly, under the Trade Deal the UK only regains 162,444 tons worth £209m taking the UK to a total of 736,567tons worth £951m of TAC species. Boris Johnson’s government has left the EU with 928,894 tons worth £1.2bn of UK resources it is otherwise not entitled to. Worth approximately £4.8bn to UK coastal communities when processed.
As Austin Mitchell put it “Provision 126 gives access to UK “territorial” waters to vessels which have “traditionally” fished there. Does this mean 12 miles which only Scotland has? Is England being restricted to 6? Does it mean historic rights or CFP rights?”
Just ask clueless, bumbling, Boris Johnson!