Brexit: Deas says ‘nothing has been agreed on fishing’
Barrie Deas, the CEO of the National Federation of Fishermen’s Organisations, explained any Brexit deal would need to reassess the fishing quotas between the EU and UK as France takes 84 percent of Channel cod compared to Britain’s nine percent. BBC Radio 4 Today programme presenter Nick Robinson asked: “You will have read the reports from Brussels that there is some sort of agreement on what is called the transition period in other words, how soon we move away from the current fishing quotas and the talk is between five to seven years. Quite a lot less than the 10 years that the EU originally asked for.
“What would you and your members make of that if it’s true?”
Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, Mr Deas said: “There has been a lot of speculation but my understanding is that nothing’s been agreed on fishing and the talks continue today.
“I think there’s been a lot of briefing by the EU side along the lines of how they would like these things to turn out.
“What we do know is if there’s going to be a deal that will allow access to EU fleets to fish in UK waters, it will have to be linked the issue of quota shares given what the UK currently gets.
“Quotas on Channel cod for example; the UK share is nine percent and the French share is 84 percent.
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“Rebalancing those quota shares is a priority for the UK.”
Mr Deas has previously claimed the UK “holds all the cards” in a no deal Brexit as the EU fishes “five times more” in UK waters than Britain does in EU waters.
He told Express.co.uk: “If there’s a no deal this week or next week, you would have to have annual negotiations to set the quotas for next year.
“I would imagine there would be some talks there although the same issues would arise for the EU.
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“If there’s no fisheries agreement then EU vessels don’t have access to fish in our waters – and they fish in our waters five times as much as we fish in their waters.
“It causes a big problem for them if there’s no movement on the quota shares.”
He added: “The UK holds all the cards in a no deal situation because the EU are so dependent on obtaining access to our waters to fish.”
France takes 84 percent of the quota for cod in the English Channel while the UK is allowed only nine percent, according to Mr Deas.
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He explained that the extortionate quotas need to be ironed out in a Brexit trade deal between the UK and EU.
It comes as the bloc wants to see the status quo maintained for fishing access and quotas, but the UK Government wants Britain to have controls of its own waters.
He said: “EU vessels have automatic access to the resource-rich UK waters.
“That’s what underpins everything, the deal from the 1970s.
“When quotas were introduced in 1983, a decade later, they reflected that original deal.”
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