Just before dawn, fishermen from the trawler The Good Fellowship cast their nets in the icy and swirling waters of the North Sea, off the northeast coast of England, hoping for better catches after the Brexit. Trawler captain David Shiel, 52, hopes Brexit will boost the once-thriving fishing industry before several decades of decline attributed in part to the authorization given to European vessels to fish in British waters. “It is clear that our own fleet must come first” In the almost complete darkness, the boat embarked on a day trip from the port city of North Shields, at the mouth of the Tyne River.
The three crew members launched their nets 13 kilometers from the north-east coast of England whose inhabitants voted overwhelmingly for Brexit. As the nets hit the seabed, trapping shrimp that will end up on European restaurant tables, David Shiel says the time has come for the UK to regain control of its waters.
But if the UK leaves the European Union on Friday, the country will remain linked to the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) until the end of a transition period on December 31st.
It is clear that our own fleet must come first, he said after having moved his boat away from the 13th-century fishing port, base of 33 boats and 350 fishermen. “They are going to stick a knife in our back” While fishing represents less than 0.1% of the UK’s GDP, the subject weighed in favor of leaving the EU in the 2016 referendum.
United Kingdom joined the European Economic Community in 1973 – which later became the EU – the Common Fisheries Policy granted European vessels equal access to the fishing grounds of other member states, provided they meet quotas.
David Shiel says this allows rival European fishermen to catch unjustified amounts of fish in British waters. After Brexit, the Conservative government of Prime Minister Boris Johnson wants to legislate to oust foreign ships. However, European diplomat based in Brussels stresses that an agreement on access to fishing in British waters was a prerequisite for the conclusion of a global agreement on the new commercial relations between the United Kingdom and the EU, which will be the subject of intense negotiations after Brexit.
Many British fishermen fear being sacrificed for the benefit of key British service sectors, led by London’s financial center. We were made promises and promises and at the last minute, they will stab us in the back because they have no guts, plague the captain in reference to British politicians.
They catch six times more fish European boats catch around six times more fish in British waters than British boats in EU waters. At the same time, 90% of the catch of British boats off North Shields is shrimp intended for export – about two-thirds of which go to France, Spain, and Italy – according to Andy Dixon, who manages the North branch. Shields at Caley Fisheries. And the UK tends to import most of the fish it consumes – including tuna, cod, and haddock. We have to find the right balance to allow these exchanges, says Andy Dixon after having conducted the daily fish market auctions.
We just hope we won’t be betrayed. It has happened before, he says. Barrie Deas, head of the National Federation of Fishermen’s Organizations, points out that in 1973 equal access to fishing grounds was seen as a betrayal because the fishing industry was sacrificed for other purposes national political and economic.
Back at the port, Thomas Glenny, an experienced fisherman, says he regrets the day when the United Kingdom joined the European club, expressing his pessimism. I just hope it will work out for us – but I don’t believe so.