Setting out a vision for a post-Brexit sea, the European Fisheries Alliance (EUFA) has called for a mutually beneficial joint framework for fisheries post Brexit.
With the UK’s departure from the EU heralding a new chapter in the EU-UK relations, EUFA says it is time to look ahead. The upcoming negotiations, they say, present an opportunity to build a new, strong and long-term joint framework for sustainable fisheries management that benefits both EU and UK fishing fleets and communities.
In terms of the UK’s scheduled departure from the Common Fisheries Policy later this year, the Alliance acknowledges the timeframe to negotiate the future relationship between the EU and the UK is ambitious, however, say they are “confident that building constructively on existing rules and considering fisheries in its wider context of the upcoming economic partnership, will result in an agreement that does justice to the complex reality on the ground.”
Setting out a vision for that future in a position paper entitled ‘Building a sustainable, strong and mutually beneficial joint Fisheries Management post-Brexit’, according to the coalition which includes fishing organisations from Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, The Netherlands, Poland, Spain and Sweden and accounts for over 18,000 fishermen, the future relationship between the EU and UK should be based on four core principles:
- Building the fisheries framework in the context of the wider EU-UK economic and trade relationship
- Maintaining the current allocation of fishing opportunities for the benefits of EU and UK fleets
- Maintaining mutual access to waters
- The continuation of ‘sound’ long-term fisheries management for shared stocks.
Highlighting the ongoing uncertainty facing fishermen around Europe, EUFA Chairman Gerard van Balsfoort said: “Brexit is undoubtably an uncertain moment for European Fishermen, their businesses and their communities. It is now time to look ahead, acknowledge our mutual interdependence and end this uncertainty.
“We need to build a new, long-term common framework for sustainable fisheries management. One that preserves the existing distribution of fishing opportunities and upholds mutual access to waters and markets.”
He added: “We are grateful that Michel Barnier and the EU Member States have recognized the challenge inherent to our sector. Both the Withdrawal Agreement and the Political Declaration are a good basis for the upcoming talks.
“We now have an opportunity to turn political commitments into a concrete, long-term and mutually beneficial fisheries management framework in the context of the overall economic and trade partnership.”
Image: EUFA delegates including Killybegs Fishermen’s Organisation CEO, Seán O’Donoghue with EU Chief Brexit Negotiator, Michel Barnier in Brussels, last September