BY MARK CHILES
Earlier this month in Westminster, Fishing for Leave released one of the first detailed Brexit policy documents. The policy paper clearly details the realities of Brexit to ensure the UK regains all fisheries waters and resources automatically with nothing to negotiate.
Speaking to the 30 national journalists FFL said “We have devised future policy to ensure the UK takes advantage of the clean slate afforded by the terms of Article 50, that the ‘treaties shall cease to apply’ and therefore the CFP too. We cannot adopt any element of the disastrous CFP into UK law as proposed with the Great “Repeal” Bill as this would bind us to the CFP, betraying Brexit for political convenience and a small minority of vested interests. This policy details a bold new approach to manage UK fisheries sustainably by eliminating the cause of discards, EU Quotas, and replacing them with Days-at-Sea whilst preserving current entitlement investments. We have a golden opportunity to become world leaders with Brexit. This policy proposes sustainable management with Days-at-Sea that works for everyone regardless of whether you are the smallest boat or biggest company whilst providing a stable transition. We have the chance to husband this resource to the benefit of all not just a minority to rejuvenate coastal communities that have suffered so much in the CFP with a £6.3bn windfall creating tens of thousands of jobs for generations to come. Fishing will be the “acid test” of Brexit, it cannot be betrayed a second time when it could be a beacon of success”.
Former Secretary of State Owen Paterson starkly highlighted that “The CFP is a biological, environmental, economic and social disaster; it is beyond reform. It is a system that has forced fishermen to throw back more fish dead into the sea than they have landed”.
Mr Paterson said “The crucial aspect for sustainability in a new policy, must be to take measures to prevent discarding”.
Nigel Farage robustly warned the Government not to betray the fishing industry and its hopes a second time by squandering the chance to tear up all EU rules of the CFP. He said “I believe the government are just proposing a slight increase in quotas rather than full control – That’s not what we want. We want full sovereignty and all our resources. I fear that behind the scenes fishing is being used as a negotiating chip. I don’t think there is any will to stand up for our fishing community and take back full control of our waters. Brexit doesn’t mean Brexit if we don’t get back full control of our fisheries waters.”
There is no catch in the UK taking back control of the 200 mile/median line zone, which by international Law is, and always has been since 1976, part of the UK. FFL’s position should be supported and Fishing – which has had a really tough time while the UK has been part of the EU – should certainly not be used as a Brexit bargaining chip.
Roll on the Great British Fishing Revolution.
Summary of Fishing for Leave Policy Points –
- Full withdrawal with no adoption of the disastrous CFP in the Great “Repeal Bill.
- Exclude the EU fleet from UK waters, negotiating future access on equal exchange barter basis.
- Implement a resources amnesty – all repatriated resource allocation should benefit all.
- Implement fit for purpose policy inclusive of all that ends the cause of discards not bans the symptoms
- Effort control based on “Days at Sea”, measured in hours, instead of fixed quotas to limit fishing effort.
- Use flexible catch compositions to avoid a race whilst ending discards and to preserve current fishing entitlements.
- Use Conservation Credits to award Days for selectivity and spatial measures to encourage sustainability.
- Create a UK fisheries institute that makes scientists and fishermen as primary stakeholders work together using real time data provided by Days-at-Sea.
The Full Policy Document is available to order at http://www.ffl.org.uk