The Fisheries white paper – Where the Government has got it wrong.

The Fisheries White Paper was better than I was expecting and certainly a lot of thought has gone into the wording, but – and there is always a but – the whole paper has been written on the assumption that there will be an implementation/transitional period, which is far from guaranteed.

I was also surprised to see in the Executive Summary the following two statements:

1) We do not yet know the outcome of the UK’s negotiations to withdraw from the EU or on a future economic partnership.

2) Access to markets for fisheries products will be agreed as part of our future economic partnership, just as with other goods and food products. This is separate to the question of fishing opportunities and access to waters, which consequently will be addressed separately, founded on the UK’s legal status as an independent coastal state.

Those two statements by DEFRA are an honest assessment firstly because the withdrawal agreement which includes the implementation period, is not complete, so whatever the White Paper proposes, there is no guarantee that will happen, especially given we are a long way from securing any sort of trade deal. Secondly, we know full well that the EU will demand present levels of access into UK waters as part of a trade deal. Having sacrificed fishing during the Implementation period –  and those 21 months could be crucial for the survival of the UK’s fishing industry – will the same happen for a trade deal whereby the EU refuses to separate access to market and access to UK waters?. No one knows until that crunch point arrives.

The White paper, in my opinion, places too much emphasis on flawed the quota system. In this, it copies Norway and New Zealand. Neither of their fisheries management systems would rejuvenate our coastal communities. However it is admitted other management systems are available and HMG would be prepared to trial such systems, which I passionately believe would dramatically increase our scientific data, as every fishing vessel should­ become a scientific data point.

Throughout Brexit the UK has made the serious mistake of not understanding the functioning of the EU, and has therefore put forward proposals that were inevitably going to be rejected. It will be interesting to see what today’s White paper states, and if it in turn is expecting policy that the EU can’t provide.

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2 comments

  1. Adam HileyReply

    and this Government department is led by Michael Gove one of the most intelligent people you can get and yet will not tell Ditherer May direct We must unilaterally take back control of Britain whether Brussels likes it or not get rid of the political parties abolish the House of Lords become a federal republic with a written constitution arm Ourselves to the teeth Militarily and stay neutral from wars that are not Our business leave NATO America will leave eventually and enough British Soldiers have died in other people’s problems

  2. Jason BReply

    Peter Bone MP Wellingborough raised a great concern to Mrs May in parliament on Monday. He said his local activists did no Saturday canvassing for the first time in 10 years as they felt betrayed by the outcome of the previous days’ Brexit talks at Cheques,

    Mrs May is now on record in replying, “This is not a betrayal, we will end free movement, we will end the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice, we will stop sending vast sums of money to the European Union every year, we will come out of the Common Agricultural Policy, we will come out of the Common Fishing Policy.” “I believe though that is what people voted for when they voted leave and we will deliver in faith to the British people.”

    But, but! when, when will they be implemented and will they be without any strings attached we would ask. The referendum question was unambiguous, “Should the United Kingdom remain a member of the European Union or leave the European Union”? Anything that involves still being attached or semi-attached for an undefined period does not fulfil the referendum criteria of ‘leaving the European Union.’

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