British fishermen fear that EU trade deal will leave them in the cold

by ace
British fishermen fear that EU trade deal will leave them in the cold

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Areas in the UK that have been built around fishing may find their hopes of rejuvenating their industry after Brexit.

Britain's rural fishing areas voted overwhelmingly in favor of leaving the EU in the 2016 referendum, as they were promised the opportunity to "regain control" of the country's fisheries.

A survey conducted in June 2016 suggested that more than 90% of those working in the UK's fishing industry voted for "Leave".

Much of his resentment towards the EU rests on the common fisheries policy. Although the history of the CFP predates the rise of the United Kingdom to what was then the European Communities, it has become the main source of anger for fishermen.

British coast

This European Union fish stock management policy has led to considerable restrictions on where and what fishermen can catch.

One of the campaigns carried out before the 2016 referendum suggested that Britain could "recover 70% of the UK's fishing resources and rejuvenate a multi-billion dollar industry".

But many fishermen are increasingly concerned that attempts to control the seas around the British coast may not be easy.

In addition, because the UK government will need to renegotiate a new fisheries agreement with the rest of the EU, remaining subject to the CFP until agreed.

In a bill presented to parliament on 29 January, the government promised to end the automatic right for European fishermen to operate in UK waters, but the EU could well reject such a move.

The small port of Padstow, in southwest Cornwall, is an excellent example of a once successful port, built around the fishing industry, it is now among the most deprived areas in Britain; with tourism being the biggest contributor to the region's economy.

Average wages are around € 18,000. Considerably less than the national average. But property prices have soared as tourists from wealthier parts of the UK buy secondary or retirement properties in the city.

Jason Nicholas has been fishing for shellfish all his professional life and is the captain of the boat, "Levan Mor". He wants the government to keep promises made before and after the referendum, but insists that it is not a battle with the French.

"I would like to see all fishermen having the opportunity to earn a living, whether French or English," he said.

"But, in the end, we just want to fish up to the 20-kilometer limit."

The area was identified for the so-called “Integrated Territorial Investment”, which allows the areas in need to combine resources from the European Social Fund, European Regional Development Fund or Cohesion Fund for use in high priority projects. The future of this financial aid is uncertain.

The current round of financing is worth € 660m. While some projects will continue until 2023, there is no firm commitment from ministers on what will happen after that.

Regardless of whether Padstow's economy survives on tourism or fishing, Jason believes that fishing will remain crucial.

"The most difficult thing for any of these small villages – these vacation spots – would be the loss of the fishing industry," he says.

"It's what attracts people to vacations. They love to see boats. They love to see fresh fish, crabs and lobsters being brought ashore."

Larger ports in the southwest, such as Plymouth, provide an intersection between the United Kingdom and the rest of Europe. The busy fish processing buildings mask the reality that fishing now accounts for only 0.14% of the UK's economy.

Analysts fear that the relatively small size of the industry could mean that ministers would sacrifice fishermen's wishes in favor of larger companies.

Maritime consultant Terri Portmann believes there is a precedent for selling fishing offers. "This is the portion that UK fishermen receive," she says.

“This was defined when we arrived in the EU. by a government that was willing to discount it for other businesses and I suspect that's what will happen on the way out. "

Terri believes that the notion of "taking back control" has not been properly thought out.

"What will they do with this control after they have it?", She asks.

"Because if they just agree with the current agreements and the existing sharing agreements, UK fishermen will not be better off."

“Unfortunately, I think that fishermen were used as a pawn. They became a Brexit poster boy. "

Leaving the EU does not automatically mean that fishermen will avoid C.F.P. fully. It will also not guarantee benefits for the UK fishing industry. Spain, France and Ireland buy more than 140,000 tonnes of fish from the UK. These countries also account for 36% of tonnage exported to Britain's export markets.

British fishermen's hopes of a good wind from Brexit may be short-lived. The coastal waters of the UK may be entering a stormy weather.

. (tagsToTranslate) Brexit (t) fishing (t) Great Britain

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