Brexit discussions have stalled over two fundamental problems — fisheries and regulatory alignment. Prime Minister Boris Johnson wants to fulfil a Leave campaign promise that the UK will take back control of its oceans post-Brexit. Formerly, EU ships had free access to British fishing grounds, leaving several fishermen in the united kingdom aggrieved.
However, the EU’s chief negotiator — Michel Barnier — has warned Mr Johnson he can’t procure entry to European markets without even letting EU vessels into UK waters.
The stalemate comes as the EU desperately attempts to maintain access to UK fishing grounds, but this may ultimately result in a no-deal scenario.
This was a massive fear for French fishermen, as one confessed that he was “very scared” at the prospect of discussions between Brussels and London ending with no agreement.
Jerome Vicquelin, a fisherman from the Normandy shore — stated in an interview he hopes an arrangement could be made, as his company just like many others in Europe desires UK waters. He said: “We’re scared because UK waters represent 40-60 percent of our earnings. He warned however that the UK’s fishermen would also endure hardship.
Mr Vicquelin continued: “The UK exports almost 70 percent of its fish into the EU.”If we reach December 31 plus they throw us from the waters, then we’ll block our ports, stop the ferries, no British boats will hit French soil.”Mr Vicquelin made the rebellious statement in a meeting with Al Jazeera in July.
British and French fishermen had clashed before, in August 2018 in the English Channel when French fishing boats tried to prevent several British fishing vessels from catching sea scallops from the Normandy coast.
It quickly descended into violence when three British trawlers were chased by French boats, hit by rocks and rammed with their counterparts. On top of this, petrol bombs and rocket flares were thrown since the British boats fled the area to find shelter.
The relentless attacks from French fishermen came despite UK vessels being allowed to fish in the Bay of Seine area. Before the UK abandoned the bloc on January 31, EU member states were allowed to dip into Britain’s marine wealth beneath the Common Fisheries Policy, angering many fishermen north of the English Channel.
France is one of many countries determined by British fishing grounds. Between 2012-2016, for instance, France captured 120,000 tonnes of fish worth #171million, according to Marine Management Organisation figures. In February, French President Emmanuel Macron promised he’d “fight” for his country’s fishermen throughout Brexit trade talks.
He said: “I need to inform our fishermen that I’ll fight for them. If we don’t receive the same access as now, we will look for compensation.”I won’t let our fishermen pay for a British vote they can do nothing about.”