Brexit: Fishing industry was ‘lied’ to claims Luke Pollard
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Brexit fury has erupted after UK fishermen raged they have been left with a “widespread feeling of shock and betrayal” while claiming Boris Johnson broke “promises” made to the industry. The former Prime Minister promises the country’s fishermen they would be protected in the event of any post-Brexit trade deal with the European Union, which was signed at the end of 2020. The agreement states there would be a five-year transition period during which little would change that would see EU boats continue to gain access to UK waters until 2026.
But leading UK fishing experts have launched stinging attacks against the deal agreed with the EU by Mr Johnson, with one fearing the industry will be “shafted again” when the deal next comes up for review.
Alistair Carmichael, the Liberal Democrat MP for Orkney and Shetland for more than 20 years, and Vice Chair of the House of Commons All-Party Parliamentary Group on Fisheries told Express.co.uk: “There is a widespread feeling of everything from disappointment to betrayal.
“There are a couple of things the industry can do. There is a General Election coming up in May 2024 and those Tory MPs who promised the earth but then didn’t deliver will have to be accountable for that.
“The deal struck by Boris Johnson is up for review in 2025 and it’s clear if we leave to the UK Government again, then we will be shafted again.
“What needs to happen is fishermen need to tell the UK Government what they absolutely have to get from that review, and the Government have got to use the political will they obviously didn’t have in 2020 to get that deal.”
Barrie Deas, Chief Executive of the National Federation of Fishermen’s Organisations, raged the trade deal agreed by the UK with the EU “fell very far short of the promises that had been made by Boris Johnson and Lord Frost”.
The head of the main British trade organisation representing British fishermen in relation to European fishing regulations claimed in some ways, very little has changed from the troublesome and highly criticised Common Fisheries Policy.
He told this website: “The Trade and Cooperation Agreement was a huge disappointment to most in the fishing industry because it fell very far short of the promises that had been made by Boris Johnson and Lord Frost.
“The quota shares we receive are very far away from what a normal coastal state might expect. The changes were marginal and mostly went to the mackerel fisheries – not the fisheries where there is an acute shortage of quota.
“We were also promised an exclusive 12-mile limit that was an exclusive UK red line but European vessels continue to be allowed to fish between the 6-12 mile limits.
“All of that has been very disappointing and very frustrating and in many ways reflected continuity with our experiences in the Common Fisheries Policy.
Mr Deas continued: “There was one new dimension which was all non-quota species were lumped together with catch limits.
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“So, we are allowed to catch 12,000 tonnes of non-quota species in EU waters but the EU fleet is allowed to catch 30,000 tonnes in our waters.
“That lack of symmetry and balance that was there in the Common Fisheries Policy is there under the Trade and Cooperation Agreement.”
Shortly after the trade deal with the EU was signed, then-Prime Minister Mr Johnson admitted concessions were made to Brussels but insisted the agreement was a success.
He said: “The EU began with I think wanting a transition period of 14 years, we wanted three years, and we’ve ended up at five years.
“That was a reasonable transition period and I can assure great fish fanatics in this country that we will as a result of this deal be able to catch and eat quite prodigious quantities of extra fish.
“For the first time since 1973, we will be an independent coastal state with full control of our waters with the UK’s share of fish in our waters rising substantially from roughly half today to closer to two-thirds in five-and-a-half years’ time.
“After that, there are no theoretical limits beyond those placed by science or conservation on the quantity of our own fish that we can fish in our waters.”
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