Minister provides Brexit assurances

18 May 2017
The UK Fisheries Minister, George Eustice, has sought to allay the NFFO’s concerns

The UK Fisheries Minister, George Eustice, has sought to allay the NFFO’s concerns

In a letter received before the announcement of the General Election, UK Fisheries Minister, George Eustice, has sought to allay the NFFO’s concerns over the level of Government’s ambition for the fishing industry after the UK leaves the EU.

Although the “Great Repeal Bill” will eventually transfer much European law into UK legislation, the Minister makes clear that key aspects will change from day one. Most significantly, the arrangements for TAC setting and access arrangements will reflect the UK’s new status as an independent coastal state.

George Eustice MP, said in a letter to the NFFO dated 19 April 2017: “Fisheries will be a key area in the EU Exit negotiations. We have a ‘once in a generation’ chance to regenerate UK fishing grounds and improve the conditions under which they are fished.”

“No decision has yet been made on the extent to which the EU legislation governing the Common Fisheries Policy will be incorporated into domestic law. However, as we leave, we will look to dis-apply the key elements of the CFP that are most unpopular and unworkable for the UK as a coastal state, including those on mutual access and EU-level quota setting.”

The industry has concerns about being ensnared in unworkable CFP rules even after the UK has left because of an anticipated bottleneck in Parliamentary time available to revise the law.

Top of the list of anxieties is the implementation of the landings obligation which will come fully into force for mixed demersal fisheries on 1 January 2019 without any clear idea of how the problem of chokes will be resolved.

On that point the letter continues: “We will take the opportunity to develop a fisheries regime that is better suited to our seas and industries. We are considering the issue of the London Fisheries Convention carefully to ensure that we have full control of UK waters after we leave the EU.”

“I note your concern about the implementation of the EU landing obligation. I can assure you that we will continue to work with the industry to ensure that the transitions to full implementation in 2019 is as smooth as possible and that we remain committed to ending discards. We are working with other member States and industry to identify the best solutions to deal with choke species.”

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National Federation of Fishermen's Organisations (NFFO)

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