Leaving the EU will see Britain automatically leave the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) which is responsible for the massively unfair quotas that have crippled the British fishing industry for years.
Fishing industry spokesmen have warned the UK will still be powerless to stop EU fleets accessing British marine stocks even after Brexit unless it also scraps the 1964 London Convention.
The treaty gives 12 other EU nations access to fishing waters between 6 and 12 nautical miles off the British coastline.
It was reported yesterday that Theresa May is poised to give notice that Britain will pull out of the Convention in two years’ time. This will coincide with Britain’s departure from the EU.
That would let the Prime Minister ban EU fishermen from our waters if Brexit talks with Brussels collapse because there would then be no legal basis for EU fleets to continue fishing our waters.
Mrs May’s official spokesman reported recently that the PM was ready to pull the plug on the London Convention as “pure speculation”, adding: “When it comes to the Article 50 process, I’m not going to get into the negotiating process in advance.”
Yearly EU quotas set how many of each species boats can catch, which opponents say is unsuitable and unsustainable for waters with such mixed stocks. EU quotas cause an estimated 1,000,000 tonnes of perfectly good fish to be thrown back dead into the sea because captains would exceed their legal quotas if they landed them.
“Throwing dead fish back into the sea because of legal quotas is insane. Many fishermen see Brexit as a chance to stop this ludicrous practice and to take back control of Britain’s seas, which will boost coastal communities around the country. I certainly hope that Theresa May does not let them down.
The British National Party have campaigned for decades to stop European fishing boats from trawling our waters, and we will continue to keep the pressure on until our fishermen can make a decent living without worrying about pathetic EU regulations made by unelected bureaucrats in Brussels”, commented BNP Chairman Adam Walker.
The Brexit-backing group Fishing for Leave has also pushed the case for leaving the London Convention, as well as breaking away from the CFP, to ensure foreign vessels do not retain “back door access” to our fish.
British boats should then have activity limited by “days at sea” rules to avoid over-fishing which would mean whole catches being landed with absolutely nothing discarded, ending waste and providing accurate information about stocks, says the group.
Astonishingly, an estimated 60% of fish now caught in UK waters are netted by European vessels, often to be processed across the sea and then sold back to British consumers.
Campaigners have previously voiced fears that the UK Government will too easily give up fishing rights when formal Brexit talks start with Brussels, in exchange for concessions it regards as more lucrative. It is our duty to continue to campaign to stop this from happening and to prevent the huge waste of life created by EU red tape.
We must keep up the pressure by demanding that British fishing grounds should be used by British fishermen only.