BREXIT can be made to appear complex. The subject of fisheries is not: in my view it is very simple.
1 When a nation joins the EU, it hands over control of all the living marine resource and the seawater therein, known as the Exclusive Economic Zone of 200 nautical miles, to the EU, to become EU waters and EU resource.
2 When a nation leaves the EU, all of the above is handed back to the leaving nation.
Yes, there many other items to sort out, but Nos 1 and 2 are Brexit.
On the subject of fisheries, the Withdrawal Agreement and Political Declaration of Boris Johnson and Theresa May are the same. There are only four paragraphs on fisheries.
However there is one sentence that is the killer blow:
Without prejudice to Article 127(1), the relative stability keys for the allocation of fishing opportunities referred to in paragraph 1 of this Article shall be maintained.
Article 127(1) says: Unless otherwise provided in this Agreement, Union law shall be applicable to and in the United Kingdom during the transition period.
In layman’s terms, that means carry on as present, and that during the transition period the UK remains under the European Court of Justice.
However you wrap that up, it isn’t Brexit.
The PD is no better. It says:
The European Union, hereafter referred to as ‘the Union’, and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, hereafter referred to as ‘the United Kingdom’, (‘the Parties’) have agreed this political declaration on their future relationship, on the basis that Article 50(2) of the Treaty on European Union (TEU) provides for the negotiation of an agreement setting out the arrangements for the withdrawal of a departing Member State, taking account of the framework for its future relationship with the Union. In that context, this declaration accompanies the Withdrawal Agreement that has been endorsed by the Parties, subject to ratification.
So the future relationship the UK has with the EU is based on the above. No wonder the EU are happy! It gets worse:
Within the context of the overall economic partnership the Parties should establish a new fisheries agreement on, inter alia, access to waters and quota shares.
That is based on present arrangements, operating in line with the Common Fisheries Policy.
The Parties will use their best endeavours to conclude and ratify their new fisheries agreement by 1 July 2020.
That is an EU masterstroke: to conclude a fishery agreement during the transitional period.
Well, folks, we are well and truly stuffed. This is what the last Parliament voted for and agreed. Then there are those who want a second referendum, with the question Remain or the above, which is worse than Remain. That is tossing a coin, calling heads, knowing the coin has heads on both sides.
Even in the Nineties I was saying political parties were shining a light of hope at the end of a tunnel; as you got nearer, the light disappeared, only to reappear further down the track in another tunnel. Nothing has changed.