France vows to fight for French fishermen after London hits back at Macron

Just one day after Britain's historic and apparently doomed deal to part ways with EU had been ratified in Brussels London and Paris appeared on course for stormy waters as the war of words over fishing rites heated up.

France vows to fight for French fishermen after London hits back at Macron

British in French fishermen have a long history of flare ups including the recent clashes over scallops and there appears to be more choppy waters ahead.

France are keen to get access to British waters once the UK finally leaves the EU. Although the political declaration on the “future relationship” between the UK and the EU does no grant them access to British waters President Emmanuel Macron made a threat on Sunday that has rattled a few nerves in Downing Street.

Macron said that the UK could be held in the customs union backstop, that comes into place at the end of the transition period in December 2020 if not free-trade agreement has been made, if France does not get access to British waters after Brexit.

On Monday a spokesman for Theresa May told the media that it would take France to independent arbitration if it refused to negotiate openly on the issue of fisheries.

“If the UK enters into the backstop we will be outside of the common fisheries policy and full control over whether French fishermen could enter our waters,” the spokesmen said according to the Guardian.

“Secondly if the EU were not willing to engage in a genuine negotiation to replace the backstop with the future relationship  or alternative arrangements, for example if it had closed its mind from the outset to the UK position on fisheries, that would put in breach of its duty of good faith under the agreement and we can refer this to independent arbitration,” the spokesman added.

Bu France's minister of agriculture Didier Guillaume said on Monday that the French government will be “totally mobilized” to protect the livelihoods of French fishermen.

“As long as the withdrawal agreement is adopted by the UK Parliament and the European Parliament, it will allow, during the transitional period until 31 December 2020, the maintenance of the entire framework of the current common fisheries policy,” said Guillaume in a statement.
“This withdrawal agreement makes it possible to avoid a sudden closure of access to British waters and resources in 2019.
“As the President of the Republic has stated, negotiations on future relations must begin as soon as possible so that an agreement can be reached before July 1st 2020.
“The government is fully aware that the stakes of this negotiation for French fishing are high. It will be fully mobilized within the European framework and will be vigilant in defending the interests of French fishermen.”


Member comments

  1. Nigel Farage, UKIP MEP in Brussels with the responsibility of negotiating fishing policy with the EU, did not attend any of the committee meetings whilst he held that responsibility. So it appears all has been left ‘flou’ and discord has already set in due to a lack of negotiations.
    However the sovereign rights to fish in UK watersheld by British fishermen includes the right to manage fish stocks in UK waters by means of factors to do with conservation. The Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries determines quotas, licences, the number of boats and the catches they are allowed, their size and quantity, in function of the levels of availability. Licences are aso allocated to other nationals – once a Spanish French etc. The total number is limited not by Countries but by fish stocks, quotas and the number of licensed boats at sea. This is not a virtual limit based only on EU or on Ministry bureaucrats’ estimate of supply. Each year, season, climate change, feeding and breeding cycle is different.
    British, North Sea and Scottish Fisheries should have an ongoing final say over the fishing quotas in British waters, not Brussels or the British Govt. As with farmers gauging the productivity of their yield, they know how to keep the terrain, or in this case, the UK coastal waters, productive. (Just as with the French, Norwegian, Irish, Breton or Spanish Fishing industry in their respective coastal waters, or any other nations with a sea border).
    Future fish stocks affect all of us and are the responsibility of those who’ve always taken care of them. Fishing is a delicate balance, like agriculture, or sustainable energy, or ecology.
    The fishing industry must not become merely a bargaining chip, with licenses, boats, quantities and quotas divvied up, between various European fishermen demanding their yearly cut, as compensation for a bad Brexit deal. Being inflexible about this could become disastrouse for the fragile ecosystem, as when cod numbers started to decline alarmingly from over fishing. Other species are becoming more exploited, particularly in deeper levels as the scope of the trawl and efficiency of engines, plus the need for each to maximise their haul. So care must be taken.
    This is why each country has to be responsible for its own coastal waters, and others must abide by their decisions, yet all have to pool information and continue to map movements and yields… The negotiations must take many things into consideration, and every year is different.
    Of course the same applies to other nations’ fish stocks and exploitation of stocks. When the British fishermen went to try to deprive the French of their scallop harvest – which is determined at the time of optimum growth after the breeding cycle has completed – the Brits went before the Coquilles Saint Jacques had reached their full size, before even the French fishermen were allowed to begin the season, which led to a lot of bad feeling and rough housing. This must not be allowed to happen again, preventing some from breeding, potentially damaging future harvests…
    This is an example whereby autonomy over managed stocks must be respected, and of course the assets belong to the host nation, before others are invited to share in the ‘recolte’. The same applies to Scottish herring, salmon or lobster…
    This is just an indication how tricky negotiations are and how they must be approached in a spirit of solidarity, ecology, sustainability and preservation. With good neighbourliness – a European principle – this is understood. But a spirit of competition, of pugnaciousness, of dissonance, can only exacerbate problems that have brought this world to the state of dire calamity, through brinkmanship and leadership based on vying and jostling for the top place. This is the sad flaw in the human race, that the European Union, and the WTO, was envisaged to overcome and compensate for…
    If we as Brits are to leave the Union, we should not lose sight of our own evolution as human beings, or leave the spirit of uniting in our common humanity on this, our one single planet, a brilliant jewel, orbiting our one, single, beautiful sun. We must take care, and share, what we have, rationally. If we are leaving the union, we need to learn how to communicate among ourselves, so we can come to the table with our European cousins as wise statesmen, not squabbling, egotistical children, exploiting our own people and anyone else we can take advantage of.

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.