Caution Needed Over Scallop Resolution
The Scallop wars have starkly brought public focus on how unfair the disastrous CFP is to British fishermen and coastal communities. We do hope there is a resolution to allow people to go about their lawful operation to support their businesses and families.
The talks to find an amiable resolution to the Scallop Wars are welcome, however, it is vital that any agreement does not, and is not used or manipulated to prejudice Britain’s withdrawal from the CFP.
Some members of FFL have raised the concern that agreeing to short term compensation to abide by local conservation measures specific to France could set a precedent.
A precedent that could be reversed by EU fishermen to claim compensation for loss of access to British waters post Brexit.
It must be essentially recognised in any agreement that British vessels, in agreeing any package, are foregoing a legal right under the CFP of ‘equal access to a common resource’ to fish in the Baie de Seine waters outside the member states reserved 12miles.
This contrasts with EU vessels who will lose all legal right to fish in British waters under the CFP as agreed in Article 50 with the “treaties ceasing to apply” and the CFP with them.
It should therefore be recognised in any agreement that there isn’t any excuse for them to claim compensation for loss of CFP rights which will no longer exist as terminated under treaty law as the EU agreed.
We do worry that, regardless of EU fishermen not having a legal right to stand on, they could try to politicise any compensation as a propaganda weapon whilst trying to claim access to UK waters after the termination of the CFP.
We hope caution dictates that some short-term offer of small beer compensation is not accepted which could be weaponised and thrown in Britain’s face to prejudice the true grand prize next year.
We also hope that the agreement does not allow specific compensation for scallops to be cited as an excuse to back down in Brexit negotiations by an establishment particularly ambivalent towards asserting national interest.