UK government under fire on Danish access pledge

Published by FiskerForum, 04-08-2017 · info@fiskerforum.dk

UK media have been sharing comments made by Environment Secretary Michael Gove during a visit to Denmark, quoting Gove’s having told Jyllands Posten that following the UK’s departure from the EU, Danish vessels will retain access to UK waters.

Opposition parties have criticised the government for what they call its confused stance, while DEFRA defended its boss, stating that the intention had always been there to allow other nations access to UK territorial waters.

Michael Gove is reported to have told Danish industry leaders that the UK does not have the capacity to catch and process all the fish in UK waters, so neighbouring nations will continue to be allowed access.

Jyllands Posten quoted Niels Wichmann of the Danish Fishermen’s Association as saying that the announcement is a logical one, but positive, although it was a surprise that it has come so early in the process.

In a bizarre media furore and an angry flurry of Twitter responses, both sides of the divide, from both the remain camp and the hard-line Brexit side, have weighed in to criticise Michael Gove’s comments to the Danish industry.

The hard-right Daily Express made the furious claim that Michael Gove has ‘undermined the future livelihoods of British fishermen by promising the Danes access to UK waters even after Britain has left the European Union.’

‘Michael Gove has said that British waters would continue to be fished by EU trawlers post-Brexit,’ stated a spokesman for the Liberal Democrats.

‘Gove made his experiences of the fishing industry growing up in Aberdeen a major reason for his support for Brexit. Yet another lie of the Leave campaign has been exposed by the Environment Secretary. Michael Gove chose to put stopping EU fishing in British waters front and centre of his campaign to leave the EU, yet is now telling Danish fishermen the opposite.’

SNP MP Angus MacNeil tweeted: ‘Michael Gove was in Denmark. Seems a bit different to time he was in Aberdeen?’ while Scottish MEP Alyn Smith commented: ‘Anyone who voted to leave the EU over fishing has every right to feel betrayed and angry. And it hasn't started yet.’

Source: Various

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