Published On: Sat, Aug 24th, 2019

Brexit news: Fishing invasion threat dashed in furious attack | UK | News


Earlier this month, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) was criticised after a leaked email revealed their assessment on the UK’s ability to protect its waters in the event of a no deal . DEFRA claimed Britain’s patrol boats could not fully protect the country’s waters after leaving the much-criticised Common Fisheries Policy (CFP). But, speaking to Express.co.uk, Bertie Armstrong, the CEO of the Scottish Fisherman’s Federation, claimed the European Union would become the “laughing stock of the world” if they did not respect British waters in the event of a no deal Brexit.

He said: “There will be changes to compliance, required, of course, you can always do with more resources than you have got in any given circumstance in the world.

“But, the point is this, fishing by the UK fleet and by the northern European fleets that use our waters is all recorded electronically.

“That is for compliance with sustainable fishing regulations and making sure that fishing mortality is not excessive.

“The European Union has led the world in the fight against what is referred to as IUU – illegal, unregulated, unreported fishing, off the coast of Africa and elsewhere in the world.

READ MORE: ‘We’re taking back our fisheries – and THESE countries won’t be happy’

“If fishing nations in northern Europe were suddenly to engage in fishing which is not approved by the new owners of the waters, then the European Union would be the laughing stock of the world. It would be unacceptable.”

He added: “Having campaigned against IUU fishing for years, to suddenly stand and watch while your own nations proceed to doing just that.

“It isn’t a question of having fishing protection vessels of one sort or another, it’s a question of European fleets behaving themselves.

“There is an awful lot of responsibility on the individual member states themselves.”

Mr Armstrong said that “if the French fleet were to engage in widespread illegal activity under the new regulations”, or even enter “waters where they had no right to be”, then the French state would have to “take action” to avoid looking “weak and foolish”.

He finished: “Yes, you could always do with more resources. If there is bad behaviour, we hope it can be coped with. More importantly, the rule of law will prevail here and we are hoping the northern continental shelf and our waters continues to be a place of good order and regularity where the law is respected.”

Mr Armstrong also insisted British fishermen were given “assurances immediately” by the Prime Minister’s administration that the industry would be protected after Brexit.

British fishermen have long been critical of the European Union’s Common Fisheries Policy, which imposes strict catching quotas among EU countries.

Speaking in the House of Commons towards the end of July, during his first speech as Prime Minister, Boris Johnson insisted the UK would soon become an “independent coastal state”.

Following a question about the controversial Common Fisheries Policy, Mr Johnson insisted Britain will “take back our fisheries” after Brexit.

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He said: “We will become an independent coastal state again and we under no circumstances repeat the mistake of the government in the 1970s which traded our fisheries away at the last moment in the talks. That was a reprehensible thing to do. We will take back our fisheries and we will boost that extraordinary industry.”

While Environment Secretary, Michael Gove, now the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, had said that from 2021 the UK would control fishing access to a 200 nautical mile zone around its coastline.

But, since then, the scheduled Brexit deadline has been pushed back to October 31 – delayed from the original exit date of March 29 this year, with a new Prime Minister in place.

The UK is on track to leave the European Union with no deal at the end of October this year, with Mr Johnson so far unable to secure concessions from the EU on the withdrawal agreement.

Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn has warned he will do everything in his power to block a no deal exit, and is expected to meet with fellow opposition leaders next week to try to carve out a new plan.



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