Any betrayal of our fishermen will have serious electoral consequences

Fishing for Leave’s John Ashworth explains why electoral considerations mean that British fishermen will not be sold out to the EU once again.

British fishermen have not had much reason for happiness since we joined the EEC. The Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) has been an ecological disaster and has run our industry into the ground. But last week’s Conservative Party Conference at last gave some glimmers of hope for the future.

The Attorney General, Geoffrey Cox, gave us a much-needed reminder of just what is at stake with Brexit – nothing less than our very ability to govern ourselves:

‘At 11pm on 29 March 2019 we will leave the European Union.

‘And soon thereafter, in an extraordinary moment in our history, the EU institutions will no longer have the right to make laws for our country. That power will belong exclusively to the sovereign Parliament of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

‘That is a precious prize.’

It is indeed. It means that every single individual MP will become fully responsible for the governance of our nation, something which for 46 years has been missing.

And so how will we use this new-found sovereignty for the benefit of our agriculture and fisheries? The Prime Minister made the goal quite clear in her party conference speech:

‘Our proposal would be good for our rural communities, getting us out of the Common Agricultural Policy.

‘It would be good for our coastal communities. We would be out of the Common Fisheries Policy, an independent coastal state once again.

‘And with the UK’s biggest fishing fleets based in Scotland, let me say this to Nicola Sturgeon. You claim to stand up for Scotland, but you want to lock Scottish fishermen into the CFP forever. That’s not ‘Stronger for Scotland’, it’s a betrayal of Scotland.’

It is high time that someone from another political party took Nicola Sturgeon and the SNP to task on this subject. But it also nails Mrs May’s colours to the mast. If the Conservative government lets our fishermen down, then the SNP will be able to make the same accusation with a vengeance.

And were it not for all those newly gained Scottish Westminster parliamentary seats, Mrs May would not be prime minister now – all down to the fishing issue.

We can be certain of the following. If the EU believes there is going to be a ‘no deal’, it will raise the issue of EU access to British waters. The ball will be in their court: they will have to ask the UK.

If there is silence from the EU on fishing rights, then we can expect a deal – however bodged – so that both parties can move into the transitional period. And the EU will continue to benefit from access to UK waters via its present fisheries policy until 1 January 2021.

Remainers are fond of saying that the fishing issue is too small to bother with, and will be bartered away. I disagree. Like the Northern Ireland border, it will be a key issue, just as it was on accession. This time, British fishermen will not be so easy to sell down the river.

Thanks to our Operations manager as he leaves CIB’s service

John Petley

After four years’ service, John is standing down as Operations Manager for CIB.

We thank him for his work which has made this website an interesting, classified library of high quality topical  articles on matters relating to our country’s attainment of independence, a useful reference for activists.

John was  extremely active during the referendum campaign. More recently he has been working with our friends in Fishing for Leave, lobbying MPs, researchers, officials and staff on the as yet unsettled matter of the return of our fishing grounds to full British control.

His editorial work on the production of pamphlets has given our members and supporters some of the best available material  to use when making their case to politicians and the public – objective, factual but lively,  detailed without becoming tedious and free of mindless slogans.

John is continuing his interest in the independence struggle and plans to write a book, provisionally entitled “Never Again” on the constitutional safeguards, required to ensure that our country is never again subtly traded away into subjection to a foreign power and alien law.

On behalf of the national committee and members of CIB, I thank him for his service to the cause of independence.

Edward Spalton – Chairman

NB:- We respectfully request that members and supporters who have John’s personal e-mail details do not contact him now he is no longer a CIB employee

CIB Annual Rally 14 April 2018 – a Resounding Success

OUR RALLY THIS YEAR was very well attended and I have to express my gratitude to colleagues who helped with the arrangements, the people who attended and, of course, the impressive panel of speakers who held the keen interest of the audience throughout. It was gratifying to receive email congratulations from people who had attended.

The speakers were

STEVEN WOOLFE MEP (Independent) who gave a stirring call to arms for pro indpendence activists to work togetherand oppose the Remainers who want to overthrow the democratic decision of the British people.

BRENDAN CHILTON – National Organiser for Labour Leave whose passionate, Old Labour oratory is now directed to  campaign to ensuring  that the many Labour constituencies which supported a return to democracy are not betrayed..

AARON BROWN of Fishing for Leave – an equally rousing speaker for our often-betrayed fishermen. He points out that there is an opportunity to be free of the plundering European Common Fisheries Policy (CFP)  – but only if we leave it on March 29th 2019. Without that, the proposed “transition” period would lock us into the terms of the CFP forever and a day.

DR LEE ROTHERHAM  Executive Director  of Veterans for Britain who has served in the Reserves for twenty years with three overseas deployments. He spoke won the dangers remaining after Brexit in the process of EU defence and Security Integration and the “deep and special partnership” in defence to which the government has already agreed.

DR. GRAHAM GUDGIN – Associate at the Centre for Business Research, Judge Business School, University of Cambridge and co-editor of the Briefings for Brexit website. He was special advisor to the First Minsiter of Northern Ireland  from 1998 -2002 .For once, we heard an economist who was down to earth, devoid of jargon and  whom members could understand with clarity.

ALL THE SPEECHES WERE FILMED AND WILL BE AVAILABLE ON THIS WEBSITE SHORTLY.

Here is how we started the afternoon..

Opening Speech by Chairman, Edward Spalton.

We held our Annual General Meeting for members this morning, so it is a pleasure to welcome friends from the wider independence movement this afternoon to exchange views and to hear from our distinguished panel of speakers. CIB was founded in 1969 before we joined the EEC and has always been a cross-party organisation, comprising a wide range of political views but always united in the aim of restoring democratic self-government and independence to our country. In 1972, in spite of valiant efforts by our founders, we failed to stop the passing of the European Communities Act by a slim majority of 8 votes. What a lot of trouble we would have saved ourselves, if only we could have persuaded those few MPs to do their true duty by their country!

Last year I remarked that this year’s rally would be the last one held under our EU captivity, as the government had served the Article 50 Notice and, in accordance with its terms, the treaties would cease to apply from 29th March 2019 at the latest. But I had to add “unless the European Council in agreement with the member state concerned unanimously decides to to extend this period” (clause 3, `Article 50).

Well, it appears that the government and European Council have so decided in principle on an extended “transition” period of another twenty one months which can be further extended by joint agreement. So this 48th annual meeting and rally of the Campaign for an Independent Britain will not be the last one under de facto subjection to the EU’s laws even if the Article 50 Notice period has de jure expired.

The newsletter before this rally went to members before the announcement of this development, which was rather less triumphal than the press and media reports suggested – more just a matter of “kicking the can down the road”. Of recent months I have found Private Eye’s “Brussels Sprouts” column very concise and accurate. The most recent (No 1467 p 11) sums things up very well

….the impression of a breakthrough on all things from future trade to the 21 month transition is false: a deal is no closer and the Northern Irish border question is as vexed as ever….

.In substance, the Irish border dispute has always appeared synthetic: officials on both sides have recognised the reality of the new land border from the start…. While the EU argues that Northern Ireland must remain aligned with the EU on goods to avoid border controls and Brexiteer “ultras” claim that HM Revenue and Customs can solve everything with an electronic pre-clearance system, UK ministers accept that this would not obviate the need for border inspections ….A hard border in other words.

..Having said that “no British prime minister could ever agree to” the EU’s “backstop”, the prime minister quietly accepted it, should the two sides fail to agree a better arrangement…..

That has been the pattern with the Article 50 process: the EU tables a proposal that is angrily rejected, then quietly quietly and substantially agreed to later. With the EU making the running on almost every thorny subject, it’s no surprise that Davis & co are chasing the game”.

And the proposals, for what the EU calls the “transition” period and Mrs May the “implementation” period, are very thorny indeed, truly a vassal state situation with the UK, helplessly subject to every jot and comma of existing EU law, anything they choose to spring on us during the 21 months, subject to the sole interpretation and ruling of the European Court of Justice and – do not forget – capable of being extended.

For most years of our long struggle, I and most campaigners thought that leaving would be some, great, glorious single event when Britannia waives the rules. The European Union and other affected states would agree and we would continue our commercial relationships with them more or less as at present but as an independent country. Now we realise it is much more complex and that there will have to be a series of steps.

In the run-up to the referendum I was talking to one of our most determined, long-serving campaigners about what might follow.

“ We can’t just haul up the anchor and sail away” I said.

“Oh” said this lady – the sort of person without whom we we would never have got to a referendum – “ I do so wish we could”. It was deeply heartfelt and that is a feeling with which I can fully sympathise, having myself been opposed to our membership since 1972. We abhor our subjection to the European project but we would do well to remember who brought this evil upon us. The EU does have a dark side but in its various stages has always been pretty straightforward about its objective of political union. I must refer you to this quotation from 1947

No government dependent on a democratic vote could possibly agree in advance to the sacrifice that any adequate plan must involve. The British people must be led slowly and unconsciously into the abandonment of their traditional economic defences”.

That was written in a pamphlet called “Design for Europe” by Peter Thorneycroft, later Chancellor of the Exchequer and Chairman of the Conservative Party. So the British people who had spent all of their treasure and much of their blood, fighting a war to preserve freedom and democratic self government for themselves and others, were to be led “slowly and unconsciously” into a completely different form of government – of which they were to be kept in ignorance. That is the arrogance of the British promoters of the European project from the beginning.

It is in our own political class where the real, evil, sly, manipulative authoritarianism has lain – not so much with the EU itself.

The EU could have taken nothing from us without this deliberate concealment at the highest level of the state, by our own people who were sworn by their most solemn oath to uphold our sovereignty. And much of it was done not only in arrogance but later in ignorance too. Time and again at various crises, the governments of EU countries had to remind their British colleagues that they should “Go home and read the treaties” which they or their predecessors had signed.

Our leaders had not even bothered to do their homework and find out what they were signed up to. That is the negligence and contempt in which they held us, our rights and freedoms.

Recent events suggest that making good this ignorance is still necessary if we are to extricate ourselves in the most advantageous way, ensuring the smooth continuity of trade – on both sides – upon which prosperity depends. Businesses have to pay their wages and their bills every week and it is no use having some splendid, glorious conception of our ideal final terms of independence without knowing the steps we have to take to get there – minimising disruption and giving businesses ample, timely advice so they may adapt.

Another Europhile, Lord Hattersley, was more straightforward, speaking in a BBC programme in 2000 . “Not only was it wrong for us to deal superficially with what Europe involved, but we have paid the price for it ever since…Because every time there is a crisis in Europe people say, with some justification “Well, we would not have been part of this if we’d really known the implications”. This is the nearest thing to an apology which I have ever heard from any politician! Well, people did realise the implications and gave their verdict in the referendum.

Those two quotations are the first and last from our CIB booklet “A House Divided” – one of the series on sale today. All of them are deeply researched, written in clear, moderate terms and have been very handsomely designed by our Deputy Chairman, Philip Foster.

We still have a job on our hands, educating our MPs and peers on the size of the hole they have dug us into and how to get us out of it. We cannot do this without informed campaigners to remind them. Whilst we do not claim infallibility, we are sure that any campaigner who takes the trouble to “read, mark, learn and inwardly digest” these pamphlets will be better informed than many MPs and Ministers (as evidenced by many elementary mistakes in recent debates and statements in the media). As our representatives have not informed themselves, it is up to us to urge and help MPs achieve what Parliament already agreed by a large majority – to deliver the independence settlement, the verdict of the people in the referendum. No ifs and no buts about that! It is their duty and privilege to be the people’s servants.

I will now ask Philip to describe them. They consist of reliable, well-researched information, presented in a most attractive way with Philip’s great talent for design. Remember, these are all ammunition –effective weapons of mass liberation, powerful if you master them . We can provide them but you need to know well and practice how to handle them. Well-informed MPs and peers will then have no excuse for the ignorance and muddled thinking (feigned or real) behind which they have hidden for so long.

Template letter to MPs on fishing

Fishing for Leave recently conducted mass nationwide port protests where 200 vessels and thousands of public supporters demonstrated against the governments capitulation to the Transition deal which would see the UK obey all EU law AFTER Brexit.

This would allow the EU to enforce detrimental laws to cull what’s left of the British fleet and coastal communities to claim our resources we would no longer have the fleet capacity to catch using UNCLOS Article 62.2.

This betrays one of the acid tests of taking back control and spits in the face of the biggest vote in British history. Leave meant leave not trapped in transition and Fishing for Leave ask all members and supporters to lobby their MPs to make it clear that they must serve their constituents and communities not dismissive Whips who think fishing is expendable and that coastal communities don’t count!

If you want to see our fishing grounds and communities survive and boom with Brexit please take 5 minutes of your time and the pittance of a stamp and envelope to write to your MP.  https://www.parliament.uk/mps-lords-and-offices/mps/

Please send the template letter below, which is available to be downloaded as a pdf here

………………………………………………….

Dear …………………………………………………..,
Following the mass demonstration of 200 vessels and thousands of public supporters on Sunday 8th, I write to you due to my abhorrence over the Transition deal and the dire existential threat it presents to what’s left of Britain’s fishing industry and coastal communities within the 21months, along with the longer term legal implication of a potential protracted legal fight it creates.

The government  must ratify this transition as part of the withdrawal agreement and treaty with parliamentary approval. The terms of the transition subject the UK to re-obeying all EU law, including all new laws, after Brexit and the official termination of our current membership.

This negates and squanders the clean slate provided by Article 50 that states the “treaties shall cease to apply” and with that all accrued rights and obligations – including the disastrous, inept Common Fisheries Policy. This would automatically repatriate our waters and resources to national control by reverting to international law

Being trapped in the 21month Transition means the EU will be free to enforce detrimental legislation to cull what is left of the British fleet. The EU has every incentive to do to enable it to use international law under UNCLOS Article 62.2 to claim our resources we would no longer have the fleet to catch

The EU can do so using the inept EU quota system which is wholly unsuited to UK mixed fisheries and which forces fishermen to catch and then discard en-mass to find species their quota allows them to keep. As of 2019 there is to be full enforcement of the EU discard ban which addresses the discard symptom not the quota cause.

As of 2019, when a vessel exhausts its smallest quota it must cease fishing – vessels must tie up early in the year. Public body SeaFish calculates approximately 60% of UK resources will go uncaught and resultantly a similar proportion of what is left of the British fleet will go bankrupt.

Contrary to bland assurance, obeying the CFP means the EU has sole power to alter the ‘relative stability’ share outs of resources and is free to do so to the UK’s detriment. The 12mile limit which gives protection to our inshore and shell-fishermen along with nursery grounds can also abolished – it may terminate on withdrawal.

Worse, because the transition is part of a new treaty after Brexit it exposes the UK to a potential protracted legal fight over continuity of rights under Article 30 & Article 70 of the Vienna Convention on Treaties. Article 70 states the termination of a treaty does not affect any rights or obligations…unless the treaty otherwise provides, or the parties otherwise agree”.

Article 50 states & terminates current rights but the transition treaty has no such clean guillotine exit clause!

There is real danger the EU could subject the UK to a legal battle after 21 months for continuation of rights which the UK will have re-created by re-obeying all EU law in a new Transition treaty. The Transition renders all government and MP commitments, promises and assurances to reclaim British waters as worthless!

It is imperative for the survival of fishing communities in a multitude of constituencies that the capitulation of fishing being imperilled in a transition is reversed and the Prime Minister commits to all sovereignty and control over all waters and resources within the UKs EEZ reverting to Westminster at 11pm on 29th March 2019.

Failure to do so would be a tangible demonstration that there is no intention of making a serious stand on fishing or Brexit nor fulfilling “taking back control of our borders” of which fishing is an ‘acid test’ of Brexit.

I hope that as Member of Parliament your constituents can count on your full support in ensuring No Deal Is Better Than A Bad Deal & that fisheries are therefore exempted from the transition so MPs are not responsible for a second betrayal & sacrifice of Britain’s coastal communities which the public will not be forgiving of.

Yours Sincerely,     ………………………….

In Support Of Fishing for Leave

 

Fishing protests a success – and this is only the start

Organisers Fishing for Leave welcomed the success of last Sunday’s demonstrations and thanked the hard work of members and the public for their support.

FFL says it is now important that the politicians pay heed to not only the fishermen but the thousands of people who turned out to support on the quaysides or this would just be the start.

Yet Mrs May said in Denmark that she wanted “fair and reciprocal” access to waters for the countries’ fishermen after Brexit.

Mrs May’s definition of ‘fair and reciprocal’ fishing access is probably as far away from the rest of the population as her idea of Brexit meaning Brexit. Access should only be on a needs must equal swap basis.

Sadly it seems Mrs May’s idea is the same as that of her predecessor Edward Heath. That Britain’s greatest natural resource and coastal communities are expendable negotiating capital as her capitulation to trapping Britain’s fishing in transition shows.

Theresa May needs to stop playing semantics and for once live up to her rhetoric of ‘let me be clear’ by having the decency to stop playing with real people’s lives, futures and businesses in coastal communities.

She must reverse the capitulation on fishing and categorically promise that we will be entirely free of the Common Fisheries Policy come March 2019. If not, she will consign another British industry to museum and memory as the EU culls what is left in the 21 months of the transition period.

PROTEST A HUGE EFFORT THAT’S JUST A POLITE START

All those from the industry who made the effort to turn out around the coast did a fantastic job and should be massively proud to represent and fight for their industry, communities and way of life. That is what this is all about for us. Milford Haven, Portsmouth and Hastings were all phenomenal efforts with excellent turnouts from along the coast. A “well done” must go to Weymouth for coming together at such short notice as well as Newcastle, where a “well done” is due to many North Shields fishermen who rose to the occasion on short notice.

Special mention must go to Plymouth for the sheer numbers and the artillery battery of fireworks launched and to Whitstable  where Chris and Luke’s symbolic burning of a boat was a show stopper finale that deservedly won top trumps.

To see so many younger folk at sea showed that this is an industry that has green shoots if they are given a chance to be nurtured. We’d like to convey a big thanks to all those who worked like Trojans to make this happen and the thousands of members of the public that came down to support the flotillas, ultimately our seas and fish stocks are the nation’s resource and as much theirs as anyone else’s. Some people even travelled to Plymouth from as far as Stoke-on-Trent!

These were peaceful protests conducted with black humour and high professionalism – even when Remainers chained themselves to the boat Thereason May that was about to be symbolically burnt.

However, these events weren’t a party but a full-blown protest. We’re sick to death of being malevolently and dismissively portrayed as being justifiably expendable when we are anything but. Fishing is a primary wealth generating industry providing food security and employment in ancillary industries in rural coastal areas.

Repatriating our fishing grounds and the 60% of the fish the EU catches in them is worth a potential £6-8bn every year to coastal and rural communities and can create tens of thousands of jobs.

For the remainers gleefully peddling the deliberate narrative that fishing doesn’t matter, we ask – how much is your job worth to the economy?  Something that the professional students who berated fishermen, claiming that remainers knew best about fishing in Whitstable should consider.

TRANSITION MEANS MORE BOATS WILL BE BURNT

The transition isn’t just 21 months to suck up but an existential threat and potential death sentence for what’s left of Britain’s fishing industry.

DEFRA’s  peddling the government line about “delivering a smooth and orderly Brexit” along with “safeguarding fishing communities” is laughable given obeying all EU law after Brexit means the EU is able to enforce detrimental policies to cull our fleet.

The EU has every incentive to do this as under international law, UNCLOS Article 62.2, if a nation is unable to catch all its resources it must give the surplus it can’t catch to its neighbour – the EU.

Our big fear is the ill-founded EU discard ban is to be fully enforced as of 2019. The EU’s inept quota system forces fishermen to discard half their catch to try find fish their quota lets them keep.

The ban addresses the discard symptom not the cause – quota. Vessels must stop fishing when they exhaust their smallest quota. These ‘choke species quotas’ will see the fleet tied up, boats and businesses at sea and ashore go bust.

The 12 mile limit that protects our inshore fishermen and nursery grounds can also be abolished upon withdrawal.

Despite DEFRA’s pathetic official protestations that “the UK’s share of catch could not be reduced over the transition period”, the EU commission has sole discretion to award and change resource shares and has every reason to do so  – to our detriment.

DEFRA’s statement that we will be ok because we ‘are working in good faith’ is pitiful given the EU has repeatedly said that a departing member must be seen to suffer.

We would love to know how DEFRA squares the bunkum that “by December 2020 we will be negotiating fishing opportunities as an independent coastal state” given obeying all EU law doesn’t end until 2021 with international fishing negotiations not agreed until that Autumn?

To sacrifice tens of thousands and communities to appease a few ideologically pro-EU vested interests is a second betrayal that would have dire electoral consequences for coastal MPs

Now coastal MPs must listen to the thousands who turned up at short notice and the many more members of the public who support this totemic industry or we will go up a gear or two. In other words, last Sunday will just be a polite start.

It is important that MPs in coastal constituencies remember they serve their constituents who elect them and not a dismissive chief whip. If MPs have any inkling of self-preservation they must heed what we are saying and put country before party. They must stand by and remember: “No deal is better than a bad deal” and that coastal constituencies count.

WELCOME MPs SUPPORT BUT MUST BE ACTION TO BACK WORDS

We welcome the statements of support from Owen Paterson, John Redwood, Sheryll Murray, Derek Thomas and Luke Pollard but are hugely disappointed that all the other MPs that were invited to show their support weren’t in attendance.

The politicians have now been told clearly that the transition is unacceptable – and why. It’s now time they honoured the vote and walked away from the transitional terms as it is clear the EU, in order to dissuade other countries from leaving,  is not prepared to offer a leaving member a deal worth more than a packet of smarties.

If they do not change tack and shovel fishing away in desperation for any deal, they will be guilty of a conscious second betrayal of thousands of lives, businesses and coastal communities and will be culled in those constituencies in the same way our fleet will be.

Fishermen are not going to take being thrown to the wolves lying down and these protests will just be the start if patriotism, decency and good sense do not prevail.

Fishing: the threat goes right up to the shoreline.

When the Prime Minister gave her first major speech outlining Brexit at the Conservative Party conference on 2nd. October 2016, Fishing for Leave rapidly produced an analysis,  pointing out the pitfalls within the Prime Minister’s plan.

Invoking Article 50 was fine. This would create  a clean break, with no repercussions from the other 27 Member States because they had accepted the terms in the Lisbon Treaty  and the Croatian Accession Treaty What was of great concern was the Prime Minister’s quest for a “deep and special” relationship, which like David Cameron’s red lines, would never be on offer or available, so such a policy would be chasing rainbows.

While FfL could understand the reason  for bringing all EU existing legislation into domestic Legislation, (otherwise on Brexit day there would be vast sections of UK legislation missing), we had serious concerns. This procedure was satisfactory for internal law, but it would cause problems with joint EU external legislation (Regulation) such as the Common Fishing Policy.

This concern was heightened when the Prime Minister stated that all rules and Laws would be the same the day before Brexit as after. The rules can be made to be the same, but the laws cannot be the same, simply because the UK will no longer be an EU member state, but treated as a third country, with no obligation for the EU to treat the UK as compatible.

Because of the huge mount of time wasted at the start of the Brexit process, the UK is having to  go through the process of an implementation/transition period (21 months) and  if the terms agreed with the EU are formally adopted, we face a serious risk of a legal action through the Vienna Convention on Treaties, which could tie us down to the status quo for many years.

By surrendering fishing, the Nation’s resource, for the 21 months of the transition period, instead of leaving the CFP on 29th. March 2019 and introducing a sensible scientific and environmentally sound British policy, we would be continuing with the CFP management, meaning that UKfioshermen would have to be subject to the final stages of the discard ban, which will be introduced at the start of 2019. If it is strictly enforced, by the UK Government’s own findings, 60% of the UK fleet will face bankruptcy, opening up the possibility for the EU to catch more fish in our waters in 2021,. Under International Law  UNCLOS3, Article 62 (3), because the UK would no longer have sufficient catching capacity, what we can’t catch must  have to be handed to our neighbours – in other words, the EU.

If that was not bad enough, the UK government, under the draft withdrawal agreement of 19th. March has agreed Article 125, and section 4, though paragraph 1, to allow the European Commission to propose to the Council that they can adopt measures on fixing prices, levies, aid and quantitative limitations and on fixing and allocation of fishing opportunities.  This includes the waters right up to UK beaches, as the derogation for the 6 and 12 nautical mile limit will have fallen, so the UK can say goodbye to the inshore lucrative squid fishery, and  shellfish  industry.

Our coastal communities will continue to decline, in spite of the token Government support of the Coastal  Communities Fund which, since 2012, has encouraged the economic development of coastal communities. So far £170 million has been spent and the scheme is now to be extended to 2021 with a possible further £90 million spend. That  is a pittance compared to the possible potential of over £6 billion annually our UK marine life could generate.

The only success which the UK Government can claim is leaving the 1964 London Convention, but that will  be tested July 2019, when all EU vessels should be excluded from the 12 nautical mile zone. That will be a test on whose law is superior EU or UK, as July 2019 will be during the transitional period.

There is no doubt that during the 21 month period, the UK fishing Industry, thanks entirely to UK Government policy, will be worse off than if we had stayed in the CFP . For the Prime Minister to say we will come out of the CFP in 2021, taking control of our Nation’s waters, to run our own affairs, is chasing rainbows, as the European Parliament has made it clear there will be no trade deal without EU access to UK waters. There is strong evidence to suggest that the EU was not prepared to consider any transitional agreement if we regained control of fisheries. Having capitulated once for the 21 month transition, a second capitulation – trade deal for fisheries access, is inevitable.

Without a legally watertight binding document in the next few months stating that nothing within our EEZ will be given away, the Prime Minister will not be believed.

This is not the fault of the EU, which will strive for the best deal for the benefit and unity of the remaining 27 member states. Our Government  has been told, and warned of the consequences of their actions, but it seems determined to push our maritime heritage beyond the point of recovery – to become global Britain, a land mass only. To repeat, it was the decision of our government to capitulate. The European Commission’s “notice to stakeholders“, published today (9th April) could not have been clearer, “As of the withdrawal date, the Common fisheries policy rules no longer apply to the United Kingdom…In accordance with international law of the sea, fishing vessels wishing to engage in fishing activities in waters under the sovereignty or jurisdiction of a third country are required to obtain a fishing authorisation from that third country.” This could not be clearer. The government held all the trump cards, but threw them away.

The actions of the UK Government is proving that it has a very different interpretation  of  Brexit from those who voted leave. The problems that will arise for the UK stem from  our own Government’s policy, no one else.

Fishing for Leave has constantly pointed out the pitfalls of Government Brexit policy, and one extra concern which we wish to highlight is the fate of the 12 nautical mile zone during the possible transitional period from 30 March 2019 to 1 January 2021.

One has to remember that basis on which the UK has exclusive rights in the 6 and 12 nautical mile zones  zones is a derogation, by regulation, from our EU Accession Treaty (which gave the EU rights up to our  low water mark.)

On the 29th March 2019 the EU treaties cease to apply, which in turn takes out the regulations, so at that point we are our cleanly out, with no repercussions. However, if we find ourselves subject to the CFP in all but name, there will be no derogation this time.This means that EU vessels can fish in the 12 miles around our coasts – wht out the limitation of quota. This would ruin our   shellfish and squid fisheries. Much of this catch is sold to the EU, but it now looks like EU vessels can catch and harvest it themselves.

The only saving grace, could be what Fishing for Leave tirelessly campaigned for, the removal of the 1964 London Convention, which allows foreign vessels into our 6 and 12 nautical mile zone. This should take effect on the 4th July 2019, and it will be a huge test of Government resolve, to see if they capitulate 100% and continue EU vessel access. If they do, EU vessels will be up to the beaches, and like the Kent Kirk case in January 1983, thanks to our Government’s own actions, there will be nothing we can do about it.

Michael Gove, the secretary for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs was living in a fantasy world when he replied to Alastair Carmichael with these weasel words:-

“There is a significant prize at the end of the implementation period, and it is important that all of us in every area accept that the implementation period is a necessary step towards securing that prize. For our coastal communities, it is an opportunity to revive economically. For our marine environment, it is an opportunity to be managed sustainably. It is critical that all of us, in the interests of the whole nation, keep our eyes on that prize.”

Both Mr Gove and the Prime Minister had previously stated categorically that we would leave the CFP on the 29th March 2019 and take back control of our Exclusive Economic Zone of 200 nautical mile/median line, but in order to secure what will be a disastrous 21 month transition to buy moew time (in other words, to cover up the fact that they didn’t have any idea about a final settlement), the Government surrendered our EEZ to the EU.

Just to remind ourselves, here are Mrs May’s words:-

We will be leaving the common fisheries policy—and, as I indicated, the CAP—on 29th March 2019. The arrangements that pertain to fisheries during that implementation period will, of course, be part of the negotiations for that implementation period. Leaving the CFP and the CAP gives us the opportunity, post-implementation period, to introduce arrangements that work for the United Kingdom. The Environment Secretary is discussing with the fishing and agriculture industries what those future arrangements should be.

Can we trust her? After recent events, no amount of words, promises, assurances, will convince coastal communities that come 2021, the people’s marine resource will back under national control. After such a volte-face, they are justified in assuming that it will be given away for a trade deal, just as it has been given away now for the 21 months transition. The EU will demand that position for a trade deal and the UK Government will capitulate, and hand it over.

Just look at Article 125  part 3 of the draft UK draft leaving document :

The Union may exceptionally invite the UK to attend, as part of the Union delegation, international consultations and negotiations referred to in paragragh  1 of this article, to the extent allowed for Member States and permitted by the specific forum.

What a degrading, humilitating position the UK Government has placed our nation in.

Finally, part 4 states:   Without prejudice to article122(1) , the relative stability keys for the allocation of fishing opportunites  referred to in paragraph 1 of this article shall be maintained.

Paragraph 1 relates to article 43(3) TFEU : The Council, on a proposal from the Commission, shall  adopt measures on fixing prices, levies, aid and quantative limitations and on the fixing and allocaion of fishing opportunities.

As relative stability keys can be changed, the EU can take what they like out of UK waters.

DEFRA (the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, claims that it had reached a deal with the EU whereby the UK’s share of the catch in our waters wold not be reduced during the transitional deal, which includes keeping the 12-mile limit exclusively for UK fishermen. Whatever DEFRA might, however, as far as the 12 nautical mile zone is concerned, based on the draft Withdrawal Agreement Article 125, it is wrong.

The 6 and partial 6 to 12 nautical mile zone is protected presently by a derogation within Regulation 1380/2013. That Regulation ceases to apply to the UK when we leave the EU on 29 March 2019.

DEFRA will argue that this isn’t the case because through the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill this Regulation has been incorporated into domestic legislation.

Not just DEFRA but the UK Government as a whole is making a huge mistake in this thinking. While our rules might be identical, as we have pointed out, the legal basis is not the same, simply because we will no longer be a member state. In order for this arrangement to be acceptable with the EU, it would have to be incorporated in a treaty.

Until that happens, the wording of Article 125 relates from the base line (Low water mark) out to 200 nautical mile/median line.

Even if the EU agrees by handshake to maintain the existing arrangements, without a legal basis, EU vessels will enter our 12 nautical mile limit to take non quota species, such as squid, cuttlefish and scallops.

The only saving grace, could be the UK’s withdrawal from the London 1964 Fisheries Convention, commencing 4th July 2019, which withdrawal excludes all EU vessels from within the 12 mile zone. A determination to enforce this exclusion will be another test of the Government’s resolve. Will it stand firm, or capitulate? If it is the latter, then as with the 21 month implementation period, it will be certain capitulation over any trade deal which might come into effect at the end of 2020.

The fishing industry is not going roll over and Fishing for Leave will be organising a series of protests in ports up and down the country to highlight the plight of the industry – to be betrayed a second time by a Conservative government. Details of the location and dates of protests will be found in this article, which will updated regularly.

What angers fishermen and their supporters is that this surrender is totally unnecessary. If the government needs more time to negotiate a long-term deal, then why not go for the EEA/EFTA route as a holding position?   As far as fisheries is concerned, it would mean that we could take back control and the EU would be powerless to stop us. It could not stop us signing up to an arrangement which it has already signed with Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein and would also mean that any negotiations on a long-term trade deal would be starting from a much better position. Having regained control of fishing, we could make it clear to the EU that sharing our resource once again, to the detriment of our national fishing industry, will not be on the table. Indeed, it could not be on the table as the electoral price would simply be too high.

Why the government is sticking so rigidly to its suicidal course remains a mystery, but yesterday’s protests are only the start. Our fishermen have their backs against the wall. They have nothing to lose. The government – and the Conservative party in general – by contrast has everything to lose.