“Whether a vessel is fishing for to make a political point or for some commercial advantage, it needs to be very aware that it’s jeopardising its future access to fishing UK waters powerful tool.” said Mr Deas.
This sentiment was agreed upon by SFF, CEO, Elspeth Macdonald who said that the EU had been a strong advocate in the fight against illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing and she believed that the would continue with that cause after December 2020.
Jeremy Percy, the under 10 Fishermen’s Association Chief Executive said that he could see issues of conflict arising in the future as what happened with the scallop boats on the south coast of England who were fishing scallops in French Waters.
He believed that would be inevitable that there could be clashes between European fishermen and UK fishermen and the event of lack of patrolling UK fishing waters.
“I speak to lots of fishermen everyday and there’s very strong feelings about this. Taking back control and becoming an independent coastal state is all very well but if the French and maybe others feel that they can ignore the principles of my colleagues mentioned earlier, then there is no guarantee how quickly things can degenerate into violence “ he told the sub-committee.
He believed it could lead to instances like occurred in the English Channel during the scallop season of 2018 and he asked that proper controls would be put in place in order for such classes not to happen.
Mr Percy said “Obviously, if there’s going to be any sort of quid pro quo, and I think is absolutely vital, that any foreign vessel in the European vessel coming into our waters should legally has to have the cameras, remote electronic monitoring sensors on their gear and vessel management monitoring services, so we know where they are what they doing the direction of going speed etc and of course what they’re doing.”
Barrie Deas, CEO of the NFFO recognised that there would be some EU access to UK fishing grounds but it would not be inside the 6 to 12 mile limit as the London agreement had been abolished as of midnight on the 31st of January 2020 when Brexit came into play. This will be a blow to many EU member states such as Belgium, the Netherlands and Ireland, who’s vessels have had access to these fishing grounds.
Author: Oliver McBride