Parliament Square – 29th March – 1400->1900 – Be There!

Theresa May’s dire Withdrawal deal is tantamount to a second surrender of Britain’s fishing given the desperate situation it will put Britain’s fishing in. It presents not only an existential threat to our nations fishing industry, but also to the survival of our entire nation

Under this dire deal Britain will re-obey all EU law for the Transition period of upto 4 years. However, we will have no say or veto, meaning Britain will be a gagged EU satellite. Bound under Article 5 of the Withdrawal Agreements terms of ‘good faith’ to enforce whatever laws Brussels decrees. It is worse than membership despite the British people instructing our elected representatives to Leave.

We will re-obey all EU laws that we have just left in a new internationally binding treaty. Effectively re-joining the EU and disastrous Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) on membership minus. Unlike any international treaty before, sickeningly this one has no escape clause, as the governments own attorney general has clearly stated, there is no way out. Britain will be over a barrel with no escape.

This will allow the EU to enforce any detrimental legislation to cripple and cull what’s left of the British industry.  They have every incentive to do so. Under international law (UNCLOS Article 62.2) if a coastal state does not have the capacity to harvest all its resources then it shall give the ‘surplus’ to its neighbour. This is not conjecture, EU documents recognise this situation.

The EU would be free to cull what’s left of our fleet by;

Slashing quotas Britain is dependent upon – Article 130 of the Withdrawal Agreement says current percentage based ‘Relative Stability Shares’ (ones that are hugely imbalanced against Britain) shall be maintained, but, the EU can slash quota tonnages for species the UK is dependent on – 100% of zero tons is zero.

Abolishing the 12nm limit – that protects British inshore fishermen & nursery grounds. Why would the EU buy UK shellfish predominantly harvested within 12 miles when EU vessels would be free to catch it?

Bartering UK resources in international swaps – using British resources that will be under EU jurisdiction as negotiating capital whilst we have no say.

Fully Enforcing the ill-founded Discard Ban – Worst of all they can enforce the ill-founded discard ban which addresses the discard symptom rather than the cause which is the rules of the EU quota system. Fishermen cannot determine which species they will catch and are forced to discard upto half their catch which they have no quota for. Under the discard ban vessels must stop fishing upon exhausting their lowest quota. This means they will have to tie up early. Government agency Seafish estimates half the British fleet will go bust.

Therefore, May’s dire deal is a suicide pill to our industry as many won’t survive 4 years of the above.

To make it worse the Withdrawal Agreement in Article 184 says the UK and EU should look to agree the Future Relationship. For fishing that is one based on;

The principle of ‘non-discrimination ‘ – the founding tenant of equal access to a common resource.

On a ‘level playing field’ – the only way to ensure a ‘level playing field’ is to have the same rules, no doubt those of the CFP.

AND it’s to be bartered as part “of the overall economic partnership.” – setting fishing up to be traded for wider economic pressure by the EU.

Under the original draft Future Relationship (Part X11 Points 73-76)  it stated it should  “build on, inter alia, existing reciprocal access and quota shares”.  Tying Britain to the same dire and exploitationary arrangement as now where the EU catches over half Britain’s resources. No doubt the EU will circle back round to bludgeoning a compliant and complicit British establishment to this

If the UK won’t agree to any Future Relationship terms the EU demands then we are shoveled into the Backstop. Britain either agrees to the draft Future Relationship or has Northern Ireland partitioned from the rest of our nation.

The only way out the Backstop is to agree the Future Relationship – it’s a total turkey trap where the EU can set any terms. Mr Macrons made it quite clear that British fishing and Gibraltar are first for the chop when the EU wields the backstop axe. The UK is being lined up to be driven into CFP associate membership.

Given Whitehall’s supine performance so far, with every red line crossed, there is little faith that there would be resistance against the EU using the Backstop and Future Relationship clauses – ones already agreed to by Whitehall – to ensnare the UK in CFP associate membership.

MPs may be wheeled out to blow bubbles at fishermen assuring them the government will not surrender fishing. However – the big question is if there is never any intention to surrender fishing why has it been allowed to be sucked into such a position of vulnerability? Why was it ever capitulated on to fishing being put in the Transition in the first place to lead us to this threadbare point?

The government is trying to hide behind “the UK will be an independent state”. We may officially be, but, we will be an independent state that’s chosen to be shackled to the EU for upto 4 years in the Transition.

We don’t need a deal to leave. We leave under Article 50 clause of the “treaties ceasing to apply” as agreed by the EU and as legislated in parliament. Mays dire deal is a treasonous sell out designed to envelop Britain into being a permanent EU satellite. It completely and brazenly spits in the face of the largest vote in British history undermining the entire foundations government by consent is built on.

MPs must not vote this dire deal through for the sake of our nation and our democracy. Everyone must lobby their MP to vote it down.

The government and many MPs aren’t even paying lip service to Brexit any more they are in open revolt against it. If they don’t honour the vote and their promises and let this country be free on the 29th of March they will shake the democratic political settlement of this country to the core.

To vote this deal through when it has been made clear how damaging it would be – especially to an industry as totemic as fishing in the public consciousness – would not be forgiven at the ballot box.


Fishing for Leave will have a vessel on a low load lorry escorted  into Parliament Square on the 29th March at 2pm to support the March To Leave.

We extol everyone to join the March To Leave. Make MPs hear loud and clear that patriotic Brits won’t take this shambles anymore. Show that fishing and coastal communities won’t lie down and won’t be swept back into the cupboard.

Yellow Wellies rather than Yellow Vests!

We hope as many as possible will March with the boat.
Email contact@ffl.org.uk for more details

Any and all help and support to drive Brexit across the finish line with fishing top of the agenda is welcome. Please go to  http://www.ffl.org.uk/donation/