A new proposal by Michel Barnier would see the EU hand back 25% in the value of fish caught in UK waters with mackerel taking the biggest hit
EU Chief Negotiator Michel Barnier is in talks today with Ministers from the coastal states of the EU in an effort to broker a deal to end the deadlock on fisheries in the EU-UK trade negotiations.
Fisheries has become the last major snagging point in the talks along with some issues on the ‘level-playing field’ and late last week it was thought that a deal was immanent with the European Parliament organising extra sitting time before the New Year, but since that, there has been little to suggest a deal can be reached before the next deadline.
On that front, Barnier is reported to have offered a proposed cut of 25% in the value of fish caught by EU boats in UK waters. That would ultimately be worth €160 million.
The proposal includes €47m worth of mackerel, the most valuable fish for the Irish fleet and the mainstay for Ireland’s largest fishing port, Killybegs. A €12m cut in sole in the North Sea, which would have an impact on the beam trawlers from the Netherlands and an €8m cut in North Sea Herring. The proposal would also include a cut of €5m in nephrops.
The UK has insisted that it will have sovereign rights over its waters and its fleet must be able to keep a much larger share of the catch. An earlier proposal from Barnier which would of seen the EU fleet hand back 15-18% of the fish stocks caught by EU boats in UK waters had been rejected by the British negotiation team led by David Frost.
There is no news yet whether the deal is acceptable to the UK, but it was previously reported that the UK was looking for up to 80% of the annual TACs back from its own waters.
Michel Barnier had spoken to EU coastal states on Friday to try to find a compromise position but, the mood is less optimistic of a deal as time is running out to strike a deal in the interest of both sides.