Political agreement on Brexit compensation is a victory for Danish fishermen claims Danish Fisheries Association Chairman Svend-Erik Andersen
Broad political agreement on compensation for lost fishing rights now offers hope for a future strong and sustainable Danish fishery
With the agreement on compensation for fishing after Brexit, a large group of members of the Danish Fisheries Association can look forward to compensation for the fishing rights in British waters that they have lost with the agreement between the EU and the UK on the British withdrawal from the EU.
“Throughout the year, we have fought hard for compensation for the Danish fishermen for Brexit. That is why we welcome the fact that we finally have an agreement and that that agreement ensures direct compensation to the individual fishermen for Brexit. We would have liked to see the fishing industry receive full compensation, but now that it cannot be like that, we are basically satisfied with the agreement among the parliamentary parties,” says Svend-Erik Andersen, chairman of the Danish Fisheries Association.
The chairman makes no secret of the fact that it has been quite a tough battle, with the fishermen taking legal action to ensure what they had been promised.
“The fishermen have paid the bill and had been promised compensation for the quota values that they have to hand over to the UK for the Brexit agreement. But since the promise was made, it has long been said that state aid rules stood in the way of that possibility. That is why I am happy and proud that our arguments about justice have been heard by a broad majority in the Folketing, which has recognized that the Danish fishermen must of course receive compensation. It is positive that a broad majority in the Folketing has wanted to help Danish fisheries on top of Brexit,” says Svend-Erik Andersen.
Central to the political agreement is that the fishermen do not get the full value of the lost quotas paid out. The compensation rate depends on the size of the losses.
“Of course, it is not the fishermen who have decided that we should not have full compensation. But we recognize that it has been a prerequisite for getting the agreement in place, and we accept the overall result,” says Svend-Erik Andersen.
The next steps
With the agreement, the framework for compensation for Brexit has been laid. A number of issues must now be completely put in place by the Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Fisheries before the support schemes are implemented. Among other things. it must be agreed in more detail how the allowance value loss is calculated. Here, the Danish Fishermen’s Association emphasizes that a fair distribution must be ensured, which reflects the individual fisherman’s actual loss. The fishermen are also concerned that the fishermen who have losses from reduced quotas in Norwegian waters can receive compensation.
At the same time, it is crucial for fishermen that compensation for lost quota values can work side by side with a scrapping scheme.
“There are many fishermen who have been hit hard by Brexit and all must, of course, be compensated for the quotas lost. But the fact that we have to hand over quotas to the UK also has the effect that the Danish fishing fleet will be too large in relation to our fishing opportunities and everyone in Danish fishing benefits from having a fleet adjustment. It is, in a sense, an obligation we have in relation to the EU’s common fisheries policy. Such a scheme will have the greatest effect and thereby benefit tomorrow’s fishermen, whose scrapping support can be equated with the compensation that the fishermen must have paid. Therefore, one must not exclude the other,” emphasises Svend-Erik Andersen.