Isle of Man, Chief Minister Howard Quayle addressed the issue of the island's fisheries and the Brexit deal

Isle of Man, Chief Minister Howard Quayle addressed the issue of the island’s fisheries and the Brexit deal 

Isle of Man, Chief Minister Howard Quayle addressed the issue of the new UK-EU Trade and Economic Cooperation Agreement in a recent press briefing.

On the issue of the UK voting to leave the EU and on the signing of the new agreement, he said:

“As I am sure you remember, the people of the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union on 23 June 2016.  I know that many people on our Island were – and maybe still are – frustrated that we were not able to vote in a referendum of such importance. For many it felt that others were making decisions that impacted us.

“It is worth remembering, of course, that the Isle of Man was never a member of the European Union. We sat outside but had a number of benefits because of the UK’s membership. Some of these benefits were related to holding a British passport – the right to travel freely and to settle or work across Europe.”

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On the issue of fisheries, the Chief Minister said:  

“The EU’s ask was that those who had previously fished in our territorial waters could continue to do so.  The whole question of fishing has caused a lot of emotional debate here on the Island and across in the UK. It was clear that without fish for the EU, there would be no goods for us.  

“We agreed to explore this with the EU subject to three important principles.  

“First, that only those EU vessels with a proven and recent track record of fishing in Manx waters could be allowed to continue to do so. There could be no increase in the level of fishing undertaken by EU vessels.  

“Second, that any new arrangement had to be modern and champion sustainability. For example we needed to be able to reduce or stop fishing in a particular place or for particular species if our stocks were at risk.  

“It might be worth saying at this point that scallops and queen scallops are not currently fished by EU vessels and this will remain the case under the new arrangements.  

“Third, that for the first time, the Isle of Man would be responsible for licencing and managing effort by EU vessels. There could be no question of anyone else doing this. This is an important measure in the control of our territorial waters.  

“These were important negotiating positions for us. And I am pleased to say that we secured all of these under the new arrangements.  

“Any EU vessel that wishes to fish in our waters in the future will have to prove a track record of ten days fishing in any of the three twelve-month periods prior to January 2020.  They will have to apply to our fisheries team at DEFA for a licence to do so. And they will only be able to fish for the species that they previously did, in the section of our waters where they previously did.  

“I know that some people would have liked to have seen all foreign vessels excluded from our waters. I get that. But I believe this approach of allowing in the small number of vessels that can provide this solid and recent track record is balanced and fair.  And I am pleased that our new ability to licence and manage will mean we can put sustainability of our waters – and our industry – front and centre.  

“A member of our fishing sector came to speak to me at an event a couple of weeks ago. As he and I discussed, once caught, fish and seafood become goods. If we had refused access to this limited number of EU vessels and as a result had not secured the goods part of the deal, Manx caught products would have been subject to tariffs when sold into Europe. It was about getting the balance right and I believe we have.  

“Taken as a package, I believe that this is a good deal for the Isle of Man. Was life under Protocol 3 better? Could the UK have secured a better deal? These are difficult questions to give a certain answer. But I do know that the outcome is better than we had hoped for at the start of the negotiations. And it certainly could have been considerably worse.”


Brian J McMullin Solicitors
MMG Welding Killybegs

Isle of Man Chief Minister addresses position of island’s fisheries in Brexit deal

by editor time to read: 8 min