Sunday, 2 July 2017

Fishing Industry: Things are happening!

The government is set to take Britain out of the London Fisheries Convention, agreed and signed in 1964 before we joined the EEC, by giving 2 years notice to leave the agreement tomorrow. The convention is an arrangement that allows fishing boats from other countries to fish within six and twelve nautical miles of the UK coastline and for British fishing boats to fish within six and twelve miles of  foreign countries, including Ireland, The Netherlands, France, Germany and Belgium. Consequently, withdrawing from the convention means that British fishing boats will also lose the right to fish in waters six to twelve nautical miles offshore of these other countries. 
Environment Secretary Michael Gove said the move would help take back control of fishing access to UK waters, "for the first time in more than 50 years we will be able to decide who can access our waters." But Will McCallum, Greenpeace UK head of oceans, said that leaving the convention would not in itself deliver a better future for the UK fishing industry, and that for years British governments had blamed the EU for their own "failure" to support the small-scale, sustainable fishing boats, such as those of the Hastings fleet. Indeed, British governments had allowed foreign fishing boats to buy British boats' fishing allowances for themselves, which decreased the numbers of fish that British fishing boats could land under the separate EU Common Fisheries Policy
The National Federation of Fishermen's Organisations has welcomed the decision. Chief executive Barrie Deas said: "This is welcome news and an important part of establishing the UK as an independent coastal state with sovereignty over its own exclusive economic zone." He said Mr Gove needed to keep the 2015 Conservative Party manifesto commitment to "re-balance fishing quotas in favour of small-scale, specific locally based fishing communities", which they have done nothing about in the 2 years since that election. 
Things are getting very interesting, and that's without looking at the coming negotiations of the 12 to 200 miles fishing waters covered by the Common Fisheries Policy, particularly considering that Paris is less than 200 miles from Hastings and London is less than 200 miles from many other countries' borders!
More information at the ITV news website.

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