Following the publication of an analysis for the European Parliament on the Trade and economic related issues of the CFP & Brexit, a French-British trio (Bertrand Le Gallic, Simon Mardle and Sébastien Metz) was invited to write an article in a special edition of EuroChoices.
The UK fishing sector has been under the spotlight since the beginning of the Brexit debate. Political commentators claimed that up to 90 per cent of British fishers supported Brexit as they considered the UK was disadvantaged compared to other EU Member States. Their main grudge is about the equal access that all Member States have had to all EU waters – with the exception of territorial waters, up to 12 nautical miles from the coast – since the formal inception of the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) in 1983. Combined with what they perceive to be an unbalanced allocation of fishing quotas, this legal framework is thought by the UK fishing industry to be the main reason for the poor management of EU fisheries, which could be terminated following Brexit thus regaining the UK's status as an independent coastal state. The key issue addressed in this article is the possible reallocation of fishing opportunities within British waters. It outlines the current allocation system and summarises the views of major stakeholders. This is complex as historical fishing rights may or may not be acknowledged but it remains that the UK fishing industry needs access to EU markets and EU labour to bring the fish to value.