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Eustice sets out Brexit agenda

Published by FiskerForum, 09-08-2017 · info@fiskerforum.dk

Fisheries Minister, George Eustice, and a team of senior DEFRA officials used the Cornish FPO’s recent annual general meeting to provide an update on preparations to leave the CFP.

According to the NFFO, a packed meeting was attended by a cross-section of the CFPO and NFFO’s diverse membership in the South West.

The Minister was clear that when the UK leaves the EU, under international law, responsibility for managing fisheries within the UK EEZ will fall to the UK.

He stated that his aim is to secure an ambitious Brexit for fisheries “but with a soft landing”, meaning that non-UK vessels fishing in UK waters would be treated in a decent, fair and honourable way. Equally, it was made clear that the access conditions for non-UK vessels to fish within the UK zone would in future be determined by the UK, again in line with international law, and following discussions with the EU.

The Minister was sanguine about the trade deal that would eventually emerge from the Brexit negotiations on the grounds that both the EU and UK ultimately needed a good trading relationship with as few barriers as possible.

The Minister was keen to make clear that in moving to achieve the UK’s objectives, it would be important to prioritise and to ensure a smooth transition. It would not be in anybody’s interest to have a chaotic departure from the EU. The media, naturally tended to focus on conflict, but the aim was to make the shift as seamless as possible without losing sight of ultimate objectives.

He also stated that there is no intention of overturning the domestic quota system at this critical juncture,when there are so many other important issues at stake, although he was always open to look at various options for the future. The need to maintain a facility for international quota swaps was also stressed, although this would also be determined by the rebalancing of quota shares to reflect the resources in UK waters.

George Eustice said that the political significance of fishing within Brexit was underlined by the fact that the Fisheries Bill is only one of seven new bills outlined in the Queen’s speech. It will be necessary and important for the UK to have the ability to determine access conditions and quotas from day one after Brexit.

Source: NFFO

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