After the agreement between the EU and Great Britain, the allegations of the British fishermen do not want to fall silent. They received only a fraction of the fishing rights that Prime Minister Johnson promised them.
British fishermen feel betrayed by Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal. “Boris Johnson promised us the rights to all the fish swimming in our exclusive economic zone, but we only received a fraction of it,” said the head of the National Federation of Fisheries Organizations (NFFO), Andrew Locker, on BBC Radio 4. “I am angry, disappointed and feel betrayed.”
“Many are far worse”
Johnson had promised that no fisherman would be worse off. But now there are “a considerable number” who are far worse off than before the deal.
When the UK was still a member of the EU, fishermen could have traded with the community. “We traded things we didn’t need for fish they didn’t need. And that enabled us to set up an annual plan,” said Locker. Now the British fishermen would have to fight hard to keep their livelihoods.
At the weekend, other representatives of the fishing industry had expressed criticism of the agreements in the British media. The Guardian reported that the chairman of the National Federation of Fishermen’s Organizations, Barrie Deas, said his industry had been betrayed in order to win a major deal. Scotland’s Prime Minister Nicola Sturgeon also said that promises made to her country’s fishing industry have been broken.
Minister of State Michael Gove disagreed. Rather, Britain will be in a much stronger position than the EU, Gove told the BBC. Under the EU’s common fisheries policy, British fishermen would only have access to 50 percent of the fish in British waters. That number will now rise to two thirds by 2026, said Gove. The country will invest in the fleet and infrastructure and can further increase its share.
Fishing – a sticking point in negotiations
Fishing plays only a minor role for the British economy, but it was symbolically heavily charged by Great Britain and France on the EU side and one of the most difficult points in the negotiations on the Brexit trade pact.
Ultimately, London made concessions. European fishermen initially only have to forego a quarter of their catch quotas – over a period of five and a half years. From June 2026, annual negotiations on catch quotas will take place. A permanent cut of 80 percent was called for. Should London later further restrict access for foreign fishermen, Brussels could respond with tariffs.