Thursday, June 13, 2024
HomeBrexit WatchFisheries left dangling in the battle for our seas

Fisheries left dangling in the battle for our seas


FISHERIES – where do we go now? Unfortunately we are back to ifs, buts and uncertainty. Will the 27 EU members agree to an extension and if so, for how long? A couple of weeks, or until 31 January 2020?

If even one EU member says no, at midnight EU time on 31 October the UK will no longer be a member of the EU and treaties cease to apply.

If the extension is not agreed within a couple of weeks (not likely, considering the European Parliament hasn’t yet started), the annual carve-up of EU marine resources around the third week in December will take place with the UK as a full member, and we will give away for another year everything as at present.

The EU are fully aware that when the UK leaves the EU they have two ways to get access to UK waters:

1) Use bully-boy tactics when negotiating a trade deal;

2) Make sure that when the UK leaves the EU, the UK has not sufficient vessel capacity to harvest the resource in UK waters, so that under international law what we can’t catch goes to the EU.

There are ways and means on how to bring that about by using environmentalist issues.

If we leave the EU on 31 January 2020 and enter the implementation period, there will be only 11 months to finalise a trade deal, unless we ask for a further period; that has to be done by 1 July 2020, a maximum of two years taking us to the end of 2022.

Unless something drastic happens to the composition of those who represent us in Parliament, presently a majority who are determined to keep us tied to the European Union, we could find ourselves for one month short of three years totally controlled by the EU, as if we were a conquered people, becoming more and more incapable of governing ourselves, until we are fully absorbed as a province of the EU.

The main Common Fisheries Policy management regulation, which is actually a ten-year derogation from the EU treaties, expires on 31 December 2022. A new regulation will be in place before that date, prepared and finalised without the UK having any input in it whatsoever. The EU are not going to miss the opportunity to screw us down and strip the UK, especially our coastal communities, of any chance of recovery.

If Parliament is given time fully to scrutinise the Bill which it has just voted for, one can only hope that MPs will fully understand the horror of what they have agreed to, but I doubt it. They would rather place the UK into a position far worse than being a full EU member. Then there are MPs who have the audacity to want a second referendum based on Remain or the deal, leaving Leavers the choice of not voting or voting remain. When MPs talk about loss of jobs, it is they who are causing lack of business confidence for not carrying out the wishes of the people.

One of my proudest moments was a week and a day before the 2016 referendum vote when Tower Bridge was opened to allow a flotilla of fishing vessels up the Thames, only for it to be attacked by Bob Geldof and his associates. What happened that day, not just on the water but in the surrounding streets, should have been a warning of what was to come. It was encouraging to hear later that Labour supporters demanded to be let off Geldof’s boat as they were disgusted about what had happened.

The Battle of the Thames was the start, the battle for our seas is critical. Lose that and we lose our nation.

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John Ashworth
John Ashworth
John Ashworth has worked all his life in the Fishing Industry, as a gear designer and manufacturer. He spent 20 years working on fishing vessels around the world, and promoted environmental issues, He led the Save Britain's Fish campaign through the nineties and early twenties and is now part of Fishing for Leave.

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