Brexit has long been hailed as an opportunity for British fishermen to regain full control of waters and no longer face the intense competition of vessels from other EU states. European Union members with deep-rooted financial interests in access to British fishing waters are expected to put up a fight with Boris Johnson when trade talks start. But BBC Brussels Correspondent Adam Fleming claimed the Prime Minister could “narrow the room for manoeuvre” of EU competitors for a long time during the negotiations.
Speaking to BBC podcast Brexitcast, Mr Fleming said: “There was a fisheries’ seminar and, actually, that was full of clues about how this fisheries deal could look like.
“The thing that caught my eye, and was pointed out by a few people, is a phrase about ‘stable quota shares.’
“The idea behind this is, in the fisheries agreement made between the UK and the EU in this phase, you agree very broadly what the share there’s going to be for British fishery people and European fisher people in the no longer shared waters.
“That could actually be set very broadly, for maybe even decades.”
Mr Fleming continued: “Some people have raised the idea of setting it for about 25 years which then means your annual negotiations between the independent coastal state UK and the EU representing everyone else…the room for manoeuvre is very narrow.
“And it’s not a giant haggle every year because they are actually operating by quite narrow parameters that were set for a very long time in this phase.
“You can then see the very cliched view of what the fisheries negotiations would be like in the next few years not being what it is expected to be.”
The BBC correspondent added: “It might all be set now.”
British fishermen have long complained of the limitations the contentious Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) imposes in regards to the amount of fish they and EU vessels can catch in UK waters.
But despite the Prime Minister pledging to deliver full control of British waters back to the coastal communities across the country, fishermen from EU member states have made known their intention to fight attempts to cut them off.
Last summer, French fishermen signalled they would be willing to blockade the port of Calais in an attempt to stop fishing exports from Britain reaching the continent.
And Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen in December demanded her nation have access to UK fishing waters in Brexit negotiations.
Ms Fredericksen said: “When it comes to Brexit, fishing is particularly important for Denmark, because it is a profession that depends on good cooperation with the countries that share the same fishing area.
“So there is no doubt that fishing really matters.”
EU Commissioner for Trade Phil Hogan earlier this month suggested Mr Johsnon could agree to trade off its fishing rights in exchange for access to financial services after Brexit.
Mr Hogan told the Irish Independent: “There certainly will be trade-offs, particularly at the end of the negotiations.
“The EU will be seeking concessions on fishery access and the UK will very probably be seeking concessions on financial services.”