Hands off OUR WATERS! UK fishermen to have 12-mile zone around coastline after Brexit – Express.co.uk
Between them, the five countries catch thousands of tones of fish worth millions of pounds within the zone off British shores.
However, the Government will announce tomorrow that it is withdrawing from the London Fisheries Convention.
This will mean the five countries will be banned from fishing within 12 miles of the coast.
British fishermen to have exclusive rights around the coastline under post-Brexit plans
This is an historic first step towards building a new domestic fishing policy as we leave the European Union
Environment Secretary Michael Gove, whose father Ernest’s Aberdeen fishing business closed down because of Brussels bureaucracy, said: “Leaving the London Fisheries Convention is an important moment as we take back control of our fishing policy. It means for the first time in more than 50 years we will be able to decide who can access our waters.
“This is an historic first step towards building a new domestic fishing policy as we leave the European Union – one which leads to a more competitive, profitable and sustainable industry for the whole of the UK.”
Signed in 1964 before the UK joined the European Union, the London Fisheries Convention allows vessels from five European countries to fish within six and 12 nautical miles of the UK’s coastline.
An estimated 10,000 tons of fish, including mackerel and herring, was caught by fishing vessels from Convention countries France, Belgium, Germany, Ireland and the Netherlands in 2015 within 12 nautical miles of the British coast – worth an estimated £17million.
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The agreement sits alongside the EU Common Fisheries Policy (CFP), which allows all European vessels access between 12 and 200 nautical miles of the UK and sets quotas for how much fish each nation can catch.
It had already been announced that Britain will no longer be bound by the CFP post-Brexit, but without action, restrictions under the historic London Fisheries Convention would have still applied.
Tomorrow, the UK will notify the other Member States signed up to the Convention, triggering a two-year withdrawal period.
As announced in the Queen’s Speech, the Government will introduce a Fisheries Bill to control access to the UK’s waters and set fishing quotas once we have left the EU.
Britain’s new fishing policy will “allow the fishing industry and coastal communities to thrive, in line with our international obligations, as we build a deep and special partnership with the European Union after Brexit,” said a Defra statement.
As announced in the Queen’s Speech, the Government will introduce a Fisheries BillA source said: “This is another sign Brexit is happening and that we are taking back control. British fishermen will be very happy.”
A defining image of the referendum campaign last year was Nigel Farage having a slanging match with Sir Bob Geldof while the then Ukip leader sailed down the Thames with disgruntled fishermen.
Yesterday, speaking about leaving the convention Mr Farage said: “That’s good as far as it goes, and to claim Sovereignty over our 12-mile fishing limit is a start, but international law changed in 1976 and our rights now are 200 miles or the median line from the mainland so what I want to know is are we going to claim our full rights under international law?”
Barrie Deas, chief executive of the National Federation of Fishermen’s Organisations, said: “This is welcome news and an important part of establishing the UK as an independent coastal state with sovereignty over its own exclusive economic zone.”
The fisheries sector contributes £1.3billion to the economy, employing 34,600 people
Ben Stafford, head of campaigns at WWF, said: “Achieving sustainable fishing is about a lot more than which country fishes where. It is about ensuring that fishermen use the right fishing gear, that fishing takes place at levels that maintain sustainable stocks and that we pioneer ways to monitor what is happening at sea in order to understand the impacts of fishing. Leaving the EU means we could get these things right.”
Brexiteer Tory MP Jacob Rees-Mogg said: “This is really welcome news. It shows clarity of purpose to the EU while offering hope to our fishing communities who have suffered more from EU membership than anyone else.”
The fisheries sector contributes £1.3billion to the economy, employing 34,600 people.
There were over 6,000 UK fishing vessels in 2015, which landed 708,000 tons of fish – worth £775million.