Barrie Deas, chief executive of the National Federation of Fishermen’s Organisations (NFFO), has advised Boris Johnson the historical 2016 Brexit vote has been sent to take back sovereignty over UK fishing waters. Britain is on course to leave the Common Fisheries Policy in the conclusion of the year; nevertheless, EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier has put pressure on the UK to rethink after having a compromise.
On Monday, a transcript of evidence given to the House of Lords by Mr Barnier disclosed the EU is prepared to accept a data-driven proposal – which would be determined by the sum of fish in the sea.
The abrupt shift from Brussels comes following the transcripts also revealed Mr Barnier gave the UK and ultimatum and warned there wouldn’t be a trade deal unless there is a “balanced agreement” on fisheries.
Mr Deas, who is the chief of a body that fights in the interests of Fishermen in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, insisted that a trade deal would be in the “interest of the two parties” but cautioned to “surrender sovereignty” over UK waters would call into question what 17.4 million people actually voted.
In an interview with the Express, he said: “All of the indications are that the authorities as a whole, the Prime Minister and the Chief Negotiator, David Frost, comprehend that fishing is a totemic issue.”
“The UK will not promote fishing because that is to surrender sovereignty over our waters, and people would ask what Brexit was for. A trade deal is in the interest of both parties.”
On Monday before discussions with David Frost at Downing Street, the transcripts revealed Mr Barnier would support a proposal called zonal attachment — where fishermen would be able to capture fish according to the amount of marine life in UK waters.
The method driven by data science would foundation fishing quotas on climate change — that has led to more fish – therefore.
He indicated every 12 months; the EU would also be looking towards fishing agreements.
Mr Deas has insisted that the concession demonstrated the EU has finally realised its own negotiating position was wrong and is currently moving towards damage limitation.
“The UK has made it clear it will be a different coastal state and could be expected to exercise the rights and responsibilities of a coastal state as described in the UN Law of the Sea.
“The Commission’s plan is containment and restricting the amount of divergence in the status quo.”
“I think the UK has made clear that for the UK this is an issue of principle and nothing which constrain UK sovereignty to manage its waters will be acceptable.”
From the extracts, Mr Barnier also acknowledged the fishing arrangements were not fair on British fishermen.
He explained: “I am waiting with much patience to get a reply from the British side.”
“If there’s absolutely no response, there will be no agreement on fisheries and no agreement on trade.”
He added: “You could discuss fishing stocks frequently every year in the light of their scientific information, so that we can protect resources and biodiversity, but negotiating access to oceans and the fish from these waters every year would not be possible for 100-odd species.”
“There isn’t going to be a trade arrangement with the UK if there is no balanced agreement on fisheries.”
“Is this a balanced arrangement’ the British position, as it’s now? Surely not. Can it be the European place as it is now? Definitely not.”
Following the most recent discussions on Tuesday, Mr Barnier said the talks were “useful” nonetheless acknowledged “significant divergences stay”.
The next form of Brexit trade talks will take place a week.