Brexit: Thomas Byrne outlines 'fundamental problem'
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Not only has the Prime Minister betrayed the industry but the Brexit deal agreed in December will lead to the end of the industry in the UK, former MEP June Mummery has claimed. Speaking to Express.co.uk, Ms Mummery claimed the industry has been given a “kick in the teeth”. Although the UK and EU agreed a deal on fisheries, the former MEP for the East of England claimed ships are “plundering” the seas around the country.
She said: “We’ve had a massive betrayal.
“People talk about a kick in the teeth, this is the biggest kick in the teeth for the industry you can have.
“It’s like saying to car manufacturers that you can’t have your nuts and bolts for another five-and-a-half years.”
Although the UK will receive a 25 percent quota return after the initial period, Ms Mummery claimed EU fleets are overfishing Britain’s waters, leaving little for local fishermen to catch.
She added: “They are plundering our oceans.
“They’re taking too much, we’re being overfished.
“If we’re not careful, I see a Grand Banks situation. There won’t be an Ocean.
“It’s gone, there is nothing left on the east coast, we’re finished.”
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The Grand Banks incident refers to when the Canadian government found foreign fleets were overfishing stocks near the Canadian coast.
The state of the UK’s fisheries had been one of the major elements throughout the Brexit negotiations.
Fishermen had demanded full control over the UK’s own 200-mile exclusive economic zone.
Instead, EU ships are allowed to fish up to 12 miles off the coast of the UK.
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UK fishermen had also demanded a quota return of up to 75 percent but the Government backed down over this demand in order to agree the Trade and Cooperation Agreement before the turn of the year.
The EU also successfully tied in other elements of the agreement to maintain the standards set under fisheries.
Indeed, if the UK violates the level playing field element of the deal, measures can be taken to suspend the fisheries agreement.
Earlier this month, fishing organisations hit out at the Government for abandoning it through the Brexit deal.
The National Federation of Fisherman’s Organisations (NFFO) said supportive Tory MPs had now gone quiet since the turn of the year.
Barrie Deas, chief executive of the NFFO claimed the fishing sector had now been forgotten by the Government.
He said: “Those Conservative MPs that were our most vociferous supporters were very quiet, about the implications of the TCA.
“That’s the world that we’re having to adjust to.
“The European Research Group, for example quite often referred to fishing as a poster child for Brexit but I don’t think any of them came out and said this is a bad deal for fishing.
“Their eye was on the main prize, which of course was the trade agreement.
“It’s really quite hard to convey how sudden the industry’s fall from grace was. In December last year we were the kind of the poster child for Brexit, and we were very much looking forward to a future as an independent coastal state, with very, very solid assurances given by the Prime Minister, Lord Frost, and senior members of the of the cabinet over control over who fishes in UK waters and escape from the Common Fisheries Policy – and quota shares that reflected our new status as an independent coastal state.
“And then, from Christmas Eve, really, the Government in an eerie echo of Ted Heath’s betrayal – as it’s seen in the industry – in 1973 where fishing was sacrificed, despite all the assurances and promises.
“That deal was made in order to secure the broader advantages that would be attached to a trade deal with the EU.”
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