Scottish fishermen’s leaders have cautioned other EU countries against trying to block the UK taking back control of its fishing industry in the Brexit negotiations.
At the conclusion of the last but one round of annual negotiations in Brussels over fishing opportunity, they said it would be counter-productive for the 27 EU nations to adopt hardline positions.
“There are fewer than 500 days until the UK leaves the European Union, and while we are broadly satisfied by the outcome of the December Fisheries Council, there are strong signs that countries both with and without fishing interests are adopting very entrenched views,” said Scottish Fishermen’s Federation chief executive Bertie Armstrong.
“We were heartened to see UK and Scottish fisheries ministers George Eustice and Fergus Ewing and their tireless officials working together throughout the night to secure the best deal for our fishermen.
“Looking to the future, international law is abundantly clear that upon exit, control over the UK exclusive economic zone (EEZ) will revert to the UK governments.
“That will allow the UK to decide for our own waters who gets to catch what, where and when. But it doesn’t mean we won’t be willing to negotiate access. The difference is that will be on our terms.
“Taking a hardline stance will not help as we move to the situation where international negotiations with the UK as a Coastal State determine outcomes. It is also in stark contrast to the reasonable and responsible approach taken by the UK industry.”
The December Fisheries Council is the annual forum where shares of the total amount of fish that can be caught by boats in EU waters are allocated.
The overall amount is determined in earlier rounds of talks including those between the EU and Norway.